William Eichler 22 January 2024

Underfunding of planning teams barrier to growth

Underfunding of planning teams barrier to growth image
Image: Larich / Shutterstock.com.

Nine out of 10 SME home builders have warned that underfunded local authority planning departments are hindering the construction of new housing.

A new survey by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), Close Brothers Property Finance and Travis Perkins plc has revealed the extent to which the problems with the planning system are affecting small- and medium-sized developers.

The poll of 305 SMEs found that 93% cite delays in securing planning permission as a major barrier to growth and 91% reported that local authority planning departments are under-resourced.

Nearly half (46%) also said the cost of obtaining planning permission had risen by over 30% in the past three years – even before December’s planning fee rises were introduced.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: ‘The house building industry faces some major barriers to delivery and all indicators now show sharp falls in supply. SMEs in particular are unable to manage the delays caused by the collapsing of the planning system and the lack of capacity in planning departments.

‘The increasingly onerous policy and regulatory environment has seen the number of SME builders plummet in recent years, and we urgently need to see a reversal of the anti-development approach by Government or more companies will disappear.’

If this article was of interest, then check out our features, 'Review of 2023: a year in planning' and 'Thinking ahead: housing delivery in 2024'.

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