Planning permissions

Posted on January 11, 2017

New home planning ‘permissions’ up – but system remains a constraint

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q3 of this year remains high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows, demonstrating the house building industry’s commitment to continuing to increase housing supply.

Permissions for 76,242 homes were granted in England between July and September, with the total number for the 12 months to September reaching 289,011, the highest since the survey began in 2006. However, the number of actual sites these permissions are on dropped, indicating Local Authorities are granting permission for an increasing number of large strategic sites as opposed to the mix of size and type of site needed to deliver more homes.

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.

However, housebuilders are concerned that many approved developments often still have pre-construction conditions that need to be met before work can start on site; a process which can take some months and is dependent on the ability and capacity of the authority to provide this service.

Home Builder Federation (HBF) has welcomed the Government’s efforts through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to introduce a new process for agreeing pre-commencement conditions but has urged ministers to go further in limiting the number of conditions and preventing authorities from imposing spurious conditions that could be dealt with later in the construction process so that builders can get onto sites with a ‘permission’ more quickly.

HBF has also proposed that a range of site sizes and types are allocated by local authorities. Councils should not rely on one large site to meet their local housing needs as they inevitable take longer to build as they will likely have greater infrastructure requirements.


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