Calls For Planning Reforms To Help House Builders

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Calls For Planning Reforms To Help House Builders

Calls For Planning Reforms To Help House Builders

The UK’s planning system is making it difficult for house builders to deliver the new homes the country needs. In particular, small and medium-sized builders are struggling because of the current planning system.

This is according to the House Builders Association (HBA), which has recently called for planning reform after figures in the Construction Index showed there were fewer planning applications made in the year ending June 2018 than in the 12 months before.

Figures published by the Ministry for Housing and Local Government showed a two per cent fall in major residential planning applications, as well as a three per cent drop in minor ones.

Among the major issues, according to the HBA, is that planning applications are not being dealt with in a timely fashion. Legally, applications should be decided within a 13 week period.

However, some applications are taking considerably longer to be given a verdict. In fact, 42 per cent of minor residential planning applications – those for ten or fewer properties, under a total floor space of 1,000 sq m or a total site size of less than half a hectare – are subject to extension of time requests.

For major residential projects, this increases to 75 per cent. One HBA member revealed that the applications for its two largest sites, each of which would provide fewer than 80 homes, took 120 and 180 weeks to be determined.

Chief executive of the HBA Richard Beresford commented: “While planning remains inconsistent, expensive and risk driven, we will not be able to diversify the market and encourage new players to help solve the housing crisis.”

With builders struggling to meet the government’s ambitious target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year in the UK, it’s clear more needs to be done to help the sector.

A recent report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggested that embracing modern methods of construction (MMC) could also help those working in the house building sector.

RICS associate director residential Mike Basquill MRICS explained that the current solutions being used to try and make up the shortfall in the country’s housing supply are failing to build enough homes or to tackle the issues with affordability.

One way to address both would be for more builders to embrace MMC. It would also help to ensure the new homes being constructed met certain standards and could help some house builders to improve their productivity.

Mr Basquill commented: “If designers, investors, developers, commissioners, constructors and lenders embrace fully what MMC can offer, it will most certainly help increase supply and speed up delivery of homes.”

One city that’s set to see a host of new homes delivered in the coming years is Leeds. Earlier this month we highlighted the progress of a major housing project in Leeds’ South Bank, which will deliver up to 750 new homes once it’s completed.

Developer CEG applied for permission to begin demolition work on the site earlier this month, with the aim to carry out “advance infrastructure and enabling works” on the brownfield site, which will help speed up the construction phase of the scheme.

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