Planning conditions: no longer fit for purpose?

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Planning conditions: no longer fit for purpose?

Published 2 September 2019

The number of young adults living with their parents continues to grow; only 200,000 new homes were built last year against a target of 300,000; the pace of new build has not kept up with the number of planning permissions granted; older people want to downsize but can’t for lack of supply. Our housing shortage persists.

Sir Oliver Letwin’s report of Autumn 2018 grasped the complexities of the issue and also found no evidence that housebuilders were landbanking. Holding back land is not in their interest. 

We have supported a University of Reading report into another aspect of the process; planning conditions, a formerly under-researched area to establish what role they play in housing delay.

These must be discharged after planning permission is given and a significant number often need to be satisfied before construction begins. They can stipulate conditions such as specific building materials, site decontamination and archaeological surveys. Although they are an integral part of the process, they can be a complex issue. Their use can differ considerably from one local authority to the next, as can the speed of approval. While reform of this area of planning is clearly only part of the answer, it could accelerate housing delivery.

Michael Ball, Professor of Urban & Property Economics has undertaken the report, based on information from the country’s leading housebuilders to consider what problems planning conditions create for them and recommendations for change. It will be published at the HBF Planning Conference on 17 September. I look forward to presenting the findings with him and the resulting debate.

Authors

Andrew Morgan

Andrew Morgan

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6193

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