21 October, 2011

Delaying ‘presumption’ would prolong planning vacuum and allow Local Authorities to postpone planning for their areas

“Brownfield first” proposal fatally flawed, reducing local control, removing protections for valued land and cutting housing delivery

Housebuilders today warned Government it must stand firm on its planning proposals or risk a ‘house building ice age’. Speaking at the Housing Market Intelligence conference HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said the ‘complete and utter nonsense’ of the anti development lobby must be ignored or a generation of people will be denied access to the housing market.

As the consultation into the National Planning and Policy Framework (NPPF) continues. anti-development campaigners have been calling for the final NPPF to delay implementation of the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ until Local Authorities have a suitable housing plan in place.

But Baseley dismisses the suggestion, pointing out that Local Authorities have had since 2004 to put plans in place yet in all that time less that a third have managed to do so.

Stewart Baseley said: “To delay implementing the NPPF until Local Authorities do have a plan in place would leave us in a planning policy vacuum. It will prolong the limbo that has existed since the 2010 General Election with the old system dead but yet to be replaced. The result in too many places would be a continued failure to plan for growth or address the housing crisis in their areas”

Baseley also criticised calls for a ‘brownfield first’ policy in which previously developed land has to be used for house building ahead of any other.

“A brownfield first policy makes no distinction between derelict, contaminated, regenerated or recreational land and what’s more, removes power from local people to decide on the future of their area. The NPPF approach is actually more sensibly focused and flexible and should result in better protection for land valued by a community.”

Last year saw just 103,000 homes built in England, the lowest peace time number since 1923, against a need for 250,000; whilst planning permissions for homes that will be built over the coming years have collapsed to around half of where they should be.

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Notes to editors

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: speech will be made at  the Housing Market Intelligence Conference:

Useful stats

Permissions for fewer than 34,000 new homes were approved in Q1 in England, compared with 40,000 in Q1 2010 and against a quarterly housing requirement of nearly 60,000 based on the Government’s household projections. In Q1 2006 over 60,000 permissions were granted by local authorities1.8 million families (5 million people) are currently on Local Authority waiting lists in England.FTBs aged between 22 and 29 have to save 45% of their take home pay every month for five years to afford a depositThe number of households is projected to grow from 21.7m in 2008 to 27.5m in 2033, a rise of 5.8m (27%), or 232,000 per year. (DCLG Household Formation Projections.)Jobs Calculator:

Each home built creates 1.5 full-time jobs -Michael Ball reportIncreasing house-building by 130,000 units per year (to Government household projection levels) would create 195,000 jobs.HBF estimates twice that number of jobs are created in the supply chain – close to 400,000 jobs.

Over the last three years, home builders have invested almost £1billion in shared equity schemes to help maintain housing construction whilst helping close to 30,000 first time buyers get a foot on the ladder.HBF’s  Housing Market Report (May’11) shows that 91% of house builders now see the lack of mortgage availability as a ‘major constraint;’ on their ability to sell, and thus build, homesAccording to Government figures, even in its current crisis state, housing supply accounts for around 3% of UK GDP and provides between 1 and 1.25 million jobs in the UK.In February, Local Authorities learnt for the first time how much they will receive from developing. Some will gain over £4M in New Homes Bonus whilst others will receive nothing. The figures also show that some Local Authorities will in future be missing out on up to £27M a year by scrapping previous plans for homes or not building enough to meet the needs of their communities.

• The number of new homes completed in England in 2010 slumped 13% on the previous year – itself the lowest peacetime number on record since 1923.

• 18% of females and 29% males aged 20-34 still live with parents – ONS social trends Or; Over 1 million women and 1.7 million men aged between 20 and 34 are still living at home

• The average age of a first time buyer (FTB) purchasing a home without financial assistance is now 37.

• Whilst over 80% of people believe Britain needs more homes, particularly for first time buyers, only 50% of people would welcome more homes in their area - NHMB survey, Nov 2010