Planning permissions drought worsens

The figures are a huge wakeup call and forcibly demonstrate why Government must stand firm and deliver a pro growth National Planning Policy Framework and resist the vocal anti development lobby’s scaremongering

If the new planning system is not pro-growth other positive measures – for example the NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme, Get Britain Building, release of public land – cannot succeed in boosting housing supply.

Planning permissions granted now will, in the main, be built during the next three or four years. At a time when fewer homes are being built in England than at any time since the 1920s, the figures reveal the potential for intensifying the country’s housing crisis.

The social effects of continuing to undersupply homes are obvious: five million people languish on local authority waiting lists, millions more live in over-crowded and substandard accommodation, whilst first-time buyers have all but disappeared – further stagnating the housing market. An additional 140,000 homes a year are needed to meet demand. Delivering these could create half a million jobs and boost the economy both locally and nationally.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said;

“This is a stark reminder as to why Government must stand firm and deliver a robust and adequate planning system. 

“Government has recently unveiled some very positive measures aimed at boosting housing supply, particularly the NewBuy scheme, but they cannot succeed unless we have a truly pro-growth functioning planning system.

“The new system must provide enough viable land to build the number of homes the country needs. Continuing the current record low level of house-building is storing up huge social and economic problems for the years ahead and the shortfall must be addressed.

“Building the homes we need would take millions off social housing waiting lists and enable beleaguered first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder. It could also create half a million new jobs, and give the country a huge economic boost.”

Allan WilĂ©n, Glenigan’s Economics Director, commented, “The number of new homes securing planning approval hit a new low last year, falling below the previous low point set in 2009 during the depths of the recession. The near halving in social housing units securing approval was especially stark and combined with the continued weakness of private housing approvals leaves the overall number new homes at 132,000. This is half the level of annual approvals seen during 2006 and 2007 prior to the recession.”

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