Planning permissions up but constraints remain

Planning permissions continue to climb, but the planning system remains a major constraint to the housebuilding industry increasing supply, according to the Home Builders Federation and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report.

The report shows that 76,242 homes were granted planning permission in England in Q3 2016 (July to September), 10% up on Q2 with the total number for the 12 months to September reaching 289,011, the highest recorded since the survey began in 2006.

But HBF said that the number of sites these permissions are on decreased, suggesting that local authorities are approving permissions for an increasing number of large strategic sites instead of the mix of sizes that are needed to deliver more homes. It called for local authorities to allocate a range of site sizes and types as large sites inevitably take longer to build.

HBF also pointed out that many of these recently approved sites are not yet buildable, thanks to the various “precommencement” conditions attached to them. They must be all discharged before building can legally commence which HBF said could typically take months, “and is dependent on the ability and capacity of the authority to provide this service.”

Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman, said: “The housebuilding industry is committed to building more homes but can only do so if it has the land on which to build them.”

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