27 March, 2012

Government must now ensure LA’s meet obligations 

The National Planning and Policy Framework document published today is a sound basis for a more pro-growth planning system and could support a desperately needed increase in house building.

But, its success is dependent upon both its interpretation by Local Authorities and how central Government ensures it does actually deliver more homes.

The new system gives Local Authorities control over their housing plans.  The onus is now on them to deliver and address the country’s acute housing crisis. Government will also have to monitor the process closely to ensure Local Authorities are meeting their obligations as a radically different system beds in.

The new system strikes a sensible balance between economic growth, social need and environmental considerations when assessing proposed development. It maintains the existing protections for the countryside and there is no reason why the vast majority of housing development can't continue on brown field sites – when those sites are available and viable.

Today’s publications concluded a period of great uncertainty in planning policy for developers and Local Authorities alike. After two years in a policy vacuum, it is vital that the new system is now implemented quickly and efficiently if we are to address the country’s chronic housing crisis.

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

“The proposals are sensible and will balance a community’s housing needs against environmental and other considerations.  We now need to see the system implemented quickly so we can start to tackle the country’s acute housing crisis.

“The new system transfers power to Local Authorities for development in their areas. With power comes responsibility and Local Authorities need to demonstrate they are meeting their communities housing needs. Government also needs to keep a close eye on its radical new system to ensure it helps meet the country’s needs.”

Publication of the NPPF comes at a time when planning permissions are running at record low levels and around half what is needed. HBF’s latest Housing Pipeline report, released last month, showed that just 115k housing permissions were granted in 2011, half the required level and half the number in 2006.

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

Notes to Editors:

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the principal representative body for private sector home builders and voice of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF 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: 

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 authorities 

1.8 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 homeThe average age of a first time buyer (FTB) purchasing a home without financial assistance is now 37. (CML the original source of this have backtracked somewhat on it, but everyone, including Shapps now take it as read. However, may be best to avoid as gives ammunition to people if we quoting incorrect stats.)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.