'Twisted' planning system holding up new homes

A claim that the 'twisted planning system' is holding up housebuilding, 'not greedy landbanking developers', features in today's newspaper round-up.

Writing in City AM, Suzi Gatward, a partner at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, says that "much-needed housing plots are stuck in the quagmire of the planning system". She says that "many sites have upwards of 20 pre-commencement conditions" to be discharged before work can begin. "These range from approval of flood defences to approval of external finishes. Planning departments simply do not have the resources to deal with these, yet their members keep imposing them to keep their constituents happy."

The Telegraph reports that the head of the National Housing Federation has said that chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget has failed to deliver the "bold" changes needed to fix Britain’s housing crisis. The paper says that David Orr, chief executive of the trade body for independent housing associations, said the Budget would result in "relatively small growth" in the number of homes built.

The Times (subscription) reports that "construction industry leaders are urging the government to agree a Brexit transition period of at least two years to give European Union workers arriving in Britain a right to stay". The paper says a joint statement issued yesterday warns that there will still be a need for "significant" numbers of skilled EU workers even with companies doing more to recruit British employees.

The Times’ architecture correspondent, Jonathan Morrison, says that the winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ House of the Year award, Caring Wood in Kent, has "commendable elements" but "is hardly a model for future development". He writes: "Shouldn’t architects who are able to build on old taxi ranks, rows of garages and bits of scrubland, often negotiating draconian planning restrictions, be rewarded? They offer a better model for the future than a one-off modern château."

The Hull Daily Mail reports that the city’s council "has confirmed it wants to save the iconic Three Ships mural on the front of the old BHS store". The paper says that the "giant artwork" by Alan Boyson was originally commissioned in the early 1960s to adorn what was then a new Coop department store in Jameson Street. It added: "Campaigners have been lobbying the government to give listed status to the mural, which is made up of hundreds of coloured Italian glass cubes."

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