UK planning 'most difficult in world', says Legal & General boss

The planning system in the UK is 'probably as difficult as it gets anywhere in the world', the boss of financial services company Legal & General said today.

Housebuilding: green belt has to be part of the solution, says Legal & General chief executive
Housebuilding: green belt has to be part of the solution, says Legal & General chief executive

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Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the firm’s chief executive Nigel Wilson hit out at planning delays and said that building on part of the green belt would help to solve the housing crisis.

Wilson, who became Legal & General chief executive in June 2012, said: "I’ve worked all over the world. Planning in the UK is probably as difficult as it gets anywhere in the world."

But Wilson added: "It is changing. We have been encouraged by the government, the Treasury and various other local authorities to put forward more ideas.

"We had a project called Project Tiger … that was all about getting planning. Most of those schemes were red a couple of years ago, quite a few have moved to green now."

Wilson also told the programme that building on the green belt "has to be part of the solution" to the housing crisis.

He said: "We should build on part of the green belt. The green belt has grown from 700,000 acres to 1.7 million acres in the last 30 years. A lot of that is scrubland, it isn’t really the green belt as we love the green belt.

"There are a lot of areas we could build very productive housing on and create real jobs in the UK."

Earlier this year, Legal & General agreed to buy a stake in Scottish housebuilder Cala Group.

jamie.carpenter@haymarket.com


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