8 June, 2011

A pro-growth, pro-development planning system is vital to tackle our housing crisis

Today’s announcement of the release of surplus public sector land for housing is a very welcome first step towards increasing desperately needed housing supply.

Over the last decade the HBF has been calling for such an initiative from Government to increase land supply and set an example to organisations across the country.

A lack of viable land with planning permission has long been one of the major constraints on housing supply. Releasing surplus public sector land is the first step  towards tackling a housing shortage HBF estimates to be a million homes and getting worse every year.

Building the homes we need would provide for beleaguered first time buyers and the millions of families on local authority housing waiting lists. It would also create tens of thousands of jobs, giving the country a huge economic boost.

However, the initiative is only a start, and for real success we need to see the planning system  deliver permissions for homes on this land – and on enough land generally to meet the needs of our population. Last year, just over 100,000 new homes were built in England – the lowest since 1923 - against a requirement of at least 232,000.

The need to develop an effective planning system is demonstrated in HBFs latest Housing Pipeline Report. Planning permissions granted in the first quarter of 2011 again showed a year-on-year fall, with permissions now at around half the level of five years ago.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said;

“Releasing surplus public land for much needed homes is something HBF has long been pushing hard for, and so today’s announcement is a welcome step.

 “Alongside the lack of mortgage availability, a lack of viable, developable land with planning permission has been the most significant long term constraint on housing supply.

“It is vital to recognise though that the success of this very positive initiative and building more housing generally, also depends on the creation of a truly pro-growth planning system. Increasing housing supply will tackle our housing crisis and create thousands of jobs, providing huge social and economic benefits across the country.”

- ENDS   -

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or

Notes to editors

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s 300 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: 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 authorities, the report complied for HBF by Glenigan shows. Click here for full Housing Pipeline Report
Housing need figures based on DCLG Household Formation Projections. The 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. The latest projections have reduced household growth by approximately 20,000 per year  compared with the previous, 2006-based projections. Jobs Calculator: Each home built creates 1.5 full-time jobs
Labour Needs of Extra Housing Input Professor Michael Ball
Increasing 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.