A recent report shows the planning system isn’t delivering enough planning permissions to meet the government’s targets for the housebuilding sector. New research highlights the need for urgent action if the government wants to hit its target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year across England.
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The ‘300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s’ ambition is one which first appeared in the Autumn 2017 Budget, and has been reiterated by the Government numerous times since, such as in the Planning for the Future White Paper2 (August 2020) and the May 2021 Queen’s Speech . In order for this ambition to be met there needs to be sufficient land with planning permission for housing that has a realistic prospect of being built within the relevant time period
The planning system isn’t delivering near enough permissions to meet this housing goal by the mid-2020s. The report, Taking Stock: the geography of housing need, permissions and completions, looks at the existing pipeline of sites for housing development. And then the study compared this with what is likely necessary to meet the government’s housing target.
There are three parts of the research:
1. Analysis of how the number of homes with planning permission relates to housing need and delivery in different parts of the country through a comparison of housing need (either as per the standard method or recently adopted local plans), planning permissions and completions at a regional and housing market area level – this paper;
2. Assessing how the stock of permissions relates to housebuilder pipelines, rates of build out and the number of extra sites required to meet the government’s ambition; and
3. An analysis of what happens to the stock of permissions for a number of local authority case studies. This is a more in-depth ‘deep dive’ exploration on how the stock of permissions granted is linked to the number of homes completed within a given timescale by monitoring the land supply positions across the authorities over a five-year period.
Planning reform coming forward
In the past year, the government has brought forward planning reform. The recently announced Planning Bill will likely speed up and simplify the planning process by cutting red tape. In particular, this will reduce the time it takes for a standard housing development to go through the planning system.
Many of these changes are welcome. However, some in the industry would like to see more reforms come forward. This could help rectify the undersupply of housing across the UK and bring forward more high-quality new builds.
Paul Brocklehurst, chairman of the LPDF, comments: “This research highlights what we in the industry have realised for some time now, which is that the level of planning consents is not sufficient, especially in certain areas of England, to meet the demand for new homes.