New home planning ‘permissions’ are up in England but system remains a constraint
Councils approve playgrounds whilst builders are prevented from getting onto sites
Increase in housing supply
The Home Builder Federation (HBF) and construction data provider, Glenigan, have released their latest Housing Pipeline report and they claim it demonstrates the house building industry’s commitment to continuing the increase in housing supply.
The highest since the survey began
Between July and September 2016, permissions for 76,242 homes were granted in England. With the total number for the 12 months to September reaching 289,011, the highest since the survey began back in 2006. Although it’s not all good news for builders as the number of actual sites these permissions are on, has dropped. The HBF claims this indicates Local Authorities are granting permission for an increasing number of large strategic sites as opposed to the type and mix of size of site needed to deliver more homes. HBF are calling on Councils not to rely on one large site to meet their local housing needs as they will most likely have greater infrastructure requirements meaning they inevitably take longer to build.
Allow builders onto sites earlier
The Government’s efforts through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to introduce a new process for agreeing pre-commencement conditions has been welcomed by the HBF, but it has urged ministers to go further in limiting the number of conditions and would like to see the prevention of authorities from imposing spurious conditions that could be dealt with later in the construction process allowing builders to get onto sites earlier with a ‘permission’.
Economics Director, Head of Business Market Intelligence at Glenigan, Allan Wilén, said;
“The 10% rise in the number of units approved during the third quarter was driven by an increase in private housing. The rise demonstrates that housebuilders remain confident about market prospects for the year ahead with a firm development pipeline ensuring that housebuilders are well placed to meet demand.”
Unblock the system
Executive Chairman of the HBF, Stewart Baseley, said;
“The house building industry is committed to building more homes but can only do so if it has the land on which to build them. It is encouraging that so many headline planning permissions are being granted but we simply have to find a way to unblock the system and reduce the time it takes to get a permission to the stage where builders can actually start building. Construction work shouldn’t be held up by council officers getting round to approving designs for landscaping, playgrounds or ensuring developers are liaising with community artists. These could be agreed whilst infrastructure work gets started. Our housing crisis is too serious a threat to our future for everyone not to be pulling in the same direction.
“House builders are keen to increase output further but all parties need to work together if we are going to solve our housing shortage”.