Report backs planning changes to boost construction sector

The government should consider changes to the planning system to promote the use of pre-manufactured homes, including the use of 'permission in principle' to support such schemes, a report has recommended.

Construction: report backs s106 changes to boost skills
Construction: report backs s106 changes to boost skills

The report, Modernise or Die, produced on behalf of the government-backed Construction Leadership Council, identifies measures to ensure that construction firms have the skills, and the skills pipelines, necessary to succeed.

Among its recommendations, the report says that government "should act to provide an ‘initiation’ stimulus to innovation in the housing sector by promoting the use of pre-manufactured solutions through policy measures".

It says that this could include "planning breaks" for pre-manufactured approaches to developing new homes.

"In the same way that centrally issued supplementary planning guidance supports the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), government could consider how the promotion of high levels of customer choice, supported by a pre-manufactured solution, could be beneficially recognised in the application of local planning policy".

It says that solutions might include "exploring ways to replicate an approach to planning based on a Permission in Principle (PiP) system for pre-approved housing products with a standard typology, unit mix and sizing".

The report also calls for changes to the section 106 system to boost construction skills.

It says that the planning system, through section 106 agreements, "often imposes insular training and employment related obligations on clients at a local borough level".

It recommends that government changes planning condition obligations "on employment and training so that they can cover a wider, more sustainable geographic area.

"Many section 106 obligations are fulfilled through limited term Apprenticeship Training Agencies contracts without analysis of geographical demand and sustainable long-term employment", it says.

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