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New poll paints bleak picture of planning resources

Published: Thursday, 15th December 2016

Joint research finds that over 90 per cent of local authorities believe the government’s housing targets will be impossible to meet due to a lack of planning resources...

Nearly 90 per cent of local authorities believe the government’s housing targets will be impossible to meet due to a lack of planning resources, according to a new joint research.

That’s the central finding of a joint report from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU).

The report, the first of its kind to draw upon the experience of both local authorities and SME house builders from across the UK, also found that:

  • 64 per cent of builders and 45 per cent of local authorities see lack of planning resources as a barrier to developing more small sites
  • More than half of councils deliver fewer than 40 per cent of homes on small sites
  • Both builders and local authorities want councils to be allowed to raise planning application fees.

The research drew on evidence from surveys of 91 local authority officials and elected members and 108 SME house builders, roundtable discussions involving both groups, and a series of interviews with planning officers.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said:In this research, both local authorities and SME builders identify under-resourcing as a key barrier to allocating more small sites and getting planning permissions in place on them.”

Berry added “Most small local developers are so concerned by the level of service provided by resource-stripped planning departments; they would be happy to foot the bill, provided the raised fees are ring-fenced and result in an improved service.”

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU, said: "There is a large untapped potential in small sites, but resource and capacity pressures in planning departments make it difficult to unlock.”

Read the news story.

Roger Milne