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Media

04 March, 2013

Industry Beefs Up To Tackle Local Authorities on Planning

House builders act to ensure responsibilities for desperately needed homes are being met

The house building industry has taken a decisive step to ensure Local Authorities are abiding by their responsibilities under the new National Planning Policy Framework.

On behalf of the industry, and funded by its larger members, HBF has beefed up its planning department to enable it to represent the industry at all forthcoming local plan examinations.

HBF has made representations at numerous selected local plans since the NPPF was introduced. But this experience has revealed some emerging trends that emphasise the need for more resource to allow representation at ALL future plan examinations.

The NPPF requires Local Authorities to robustly asses their housing need and then allocate sufficient land to meet that need.

However, experience at examinations thus far has revealed;

  • Some Local Authorities failing to conduct an ‘objective assessment’ of their housing needs
  • ‘objective assessments’ being distorted by subjective considerations and policy assumptions such as citing the effect of the recession or environmental/heritage constraints
  • evidence that the ‘duty to cooperate ‘is failing and represents the weakest provision of the NPPF and is a huge obstacle to meeting housing need
  • Some LAs relying on unviable and non-deliverable development in regeneration areas to bulk out their five year land supplies

Speaking today, HBF Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said;

“If the new planning system is to work as intended and deliver the homes the country needs it is vital that Local Authorities abide by the responsibilities it has given them.

This new capacity will enable the industry to be represented at all future Local Plan Inquiries, and ensure we are challenging Local Authorities that are not making adequate provision for their housing need. With power comes responsibility and we want to ensure responsibilities are being met.”

HBF has recruited two new experienced planners who will work under HBF Panning Director Andrew Whitaker and report to the newly established Plans Management Group comprising  representatives of the major house builders.  Mathew Good will be covering the local planning authorities of the three former regions of the north; Sue Green will cover the East and West Midlands and the South West. They will join local plans veteran James Stevens, who will cover London, the South East and the East of England.

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or steve.turner@hbf.co.uk

Notes to Editors: 

1.    The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk