Property Finance Blog | March 2018 – Planning policy

Prime Minister Teresa May has unveiled plans to overhaul the National Planning Policy Framework but will this actually deliver the radical reforms that SME housebuilders need to boost housing supply?

The revised framework, which incorporates previously announced policy proposals, as well as some new measures that are being consulted on, is designed to ‘help ensure that more land is brought forward for development and that permissions are turned into homes as soon as possible’. However, the question is ‘haven’t we heard this all before?

Britain’s housing crisis is undoubtedly one of this Government’s greatest challenges and while we welcome the continued focus on the UK housing market through consultations like this, we believe more action needs to be taken if we are to reach the target of increasing housing supply to 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.

In order to try and meet these targets, we need housebuilders of all sizes to be building. According to Government figures, support for local house building almost doubled between 2010 and 2016 (29% to 57%), while opposition almost halved over the same period with affordable housing, health facilities, transport, schools, green spaces and employment, cited as the primary benefits.

In order to boost housing supply, the Government needs to do more to support SME housebuilders as they know their local areas and the types of properties and locations that are most appropriate.

SME housebuilders don’t hoard land but often miss out on opportunities due to the endless red tape that binds them, mainly due to the costly and lengthy planning process, and this is having a significant impact on their business development plans.

We urgently need the Government to deliver on its pledge to reduce red tape and streamline the planning process for SME housebuilders, enabling them to build more much-needed homes. Let’s hope that revising the National Planning Policy Framework is a definitive step to making this happen.

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Robert Grigg
Managing Director of Property Finance

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