Builders blame councils for slow building

The Home Builders Federation evidence to MPs says building will only reach Government targets if councils give consent to even more land and discharge conditions quicker.

The Home Builders’ Federation has blamed councils for builders only building a relatively low proportion of the sites for which they have planning consent – because they need even more planning consents and more agreement over discharge of conditions.

The Federation’s response to the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, puts blame on local authorities for the failure to build.  It says it is important to distinguish between land allocated in a development plan, with planning consent but with conditions to discharge, with “implementable planning permission” and currently under construction.

The HBF claims councils believe their delivery role stops with planning consent and says they should work more closely with developers to allocate sites and grant enough permissions to meet identified needs.  It agrees it is builders that actually build but councils should work to secure agreement over delivery trajectories.

“The current debate between local authorities, government and the development industry regarding build out rates fails to respect fluidity of sites moving through the development process,” it says.

“The allocation of sites and the granting of planning permissions is a reservoir from which development will flow. The number of completions per year is the rate of flow, not the size of the reservoir itself. Once a tap is fully open (in house building terms this is the equivalent of a site delivering houses at the maximum rate the market can sustain), the only way to increase the flow is to open more taps through granting more planning permissions. This may, temporarily, increase the size of the reservoir but, ultimately, if we are to increase output of housing we must plan positively for more housing.”

It says they will only meet Government building targets if the five-year land supply reaches one million dwellings.  The Federation supports brownfield registers and permission-in-principle and also the “brownfield presumption” which it says is not a return to brownfield-first.  It calls for brownfield tax breaks but says sites must be deliverable and developable to go on the registers.    BrownfieldBriefing

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