Housebuilders' unwillingness to build at rates that would cause prices to drop is the key factor limiting build-out of planning permissions on large sites, according to the government's adviser on the issue. But commentators question how useful his diagnosis will prove.
National green belt policy should be revised to allow development where 'pressure to deliver housing within the belt boundary threatens economic growth', while councils should not have to seek government permission for exemptions from commercial to residential conversions, a report has concluded.
Rural areas will lose out on affordable housing and infrastructure investment as a result of expanded barn-to-home permitted development (PD) rights, umbrella body the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
Last week five of the UK's elected combined authority mayors joined forces to write to the Prime Minister to complain about the proportion of the government's recent £866m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) allocation that was spent in London and the South East.
Freedom from European legislation would allow the UK to drive up housebuilding by simplifying the planning system, the foreign secretary said last week. But lawyers and consultants deny that Brexit will have the effect on planning rules that he suggests.
The threat of government intervention seems to have galvanised most of the 15 councils named as tardy plan-makers. Most will probably escape intervention, say commentators. And even those that do not may see only a partial takeover of their plan-making function.
- Planning Director - (London) Osborne Richardson London (Greater)
- Planning Manager – Warwickshire Jon Taylor Associates Warwickshire
- Head of Planning North Norfolk District Council Cromer, Norfolk
- Planning Enforcement Officer Cherwell District Council Banbury, Oxfordshire
- GROUP MANAGER, GROWTH and PLANNING Mendip District Council Shepton Mallet
It is essential that the planning system allows the merits of a particular use of a piece of land to be debated. But it must also bring some structure to those exchanges, so that decisions can be made in a reasonably timely and efficient way.
The most important factor restricting the rate at which planning permissions on large sites are built out is housebuilders' unwillingness to release so many homes into a local market at the same time that the prices would drop.
Next week's Spring Statement by the chancellor will bring interim news from Oliver Letwin's inquiry into the build out of allocated and permissioned housing sites in high demand areas.
This week, in his much-trailed speech about Brexit, foreign secretary Boris Johnson highlighted planning as an example of a regulatory area that could be improved following the UK's departure from the European Union.