HBF Consultation Response - Cutting Red Tape Review for house building

1 Feb, 2016

Cutting Red Tape Review of home building

We very much welcome the current Cutting Red Tape Review of home building.

While the Government has introduced many important and positive supply and demand side measures to assist the industry in growing output, such is the complexity of requirements which companies have to deal with that there nevertheless remain many regulatory issues and processes that continue to impede the ability of home builders of all sizes to grow output and deliver homes more quickly.

We have made a substantive submission to the Review. In this we raised, widely held industry concerns about:

the implementation of species and habitat protection legislation and its related licensing regimes,road access permissions during development along with approval and adoption arrangements for roads and related infrastructure under the Highways Act 1980, andaspects of the SuDS regime and arrangements for the adoption of sewers under the Water Industry Act 1991.

HBF members in responding to our call for evidence also generally asked for renewed action to speed up and simplify processes for discharging planning conditions so that they can get on site sooner once planning permission is granted and to speed up the process for concluding Section 106 agreements with local authorities.

The response to our call for evidence highlighted in addition a number of cross-cutting issues that were broadly common to the main areas of concern about regulatory processes – lack of (staff) resource in the regulatory authorities, (perverse) incentives to protracted process and the extraction of unwarranted fees from developers and the tendency of other regulatory processes to prolong and complicate the end-to-end planning process. We set out a number of possible ideas for tackling these cross-cutting concerns, including a focus on early engagement, extending thinking on the deemed discharge of planning conditions to other regulatory processes and looking into the scope for competition in the provision of advisory services informing regulatory decisions. We also called for a particular focus on helping SME home builders, who are often particularly hard hit by cumbersome and costly regulatory processes.

We would ask the Government to give very active consideration to the main areas of concern we have raised and to work collaboratively with us and our members to agree and implement solutions.

Cutting Red Tape final 27 Jan 16