Are House Builders giving First Time Buyers what they need? Part 3 - Planning Restrictions

Posted on 11 August 2020

Are House Builders giving First Time Buyers what they need? Part 3 - Planning Restrictions

The UK urgently needs more housing. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has estimated that 225,000 – 275,000 new homes are needed per year to keep up with population growth and 20 - 30 years of chronic undersupply. Housebuilders maintain that they are trying to meet this demand, but at what price?

Are Planning Restrictions responsible?

Planning policy must bear some of the responsibility for these issues. A paper published by the House of Commons described the planning system as ‘a blocker to achieving necessary rates of housing’, highlighting the restrictions placed on development by planning authorities. In recent years, every aspect of development has been tightly regulated by planning policy, from the number of houses built, to the style of the properties, the number of affordable units, the amount of public open space, and even the building materials to be used. Planners and developers are obliged to meet all the requirements of local authorities, which can have significant implications for the success of a scheme.

The Government recently announced a number of radical changes to planning rules, which are due to be implemented in September. Under the new regulations, it will be possible to convert commercial buildings into residential properties without submitting a planning application, and builders will no longer have to submit a planning application to knock down disused residential and commercial buildings if they are being redeveloped for housing.

Will these changes help to solve the housing problem in the UK? Or could they lead to unforeseen complications, such as deteriorating build quality or inappropriate building styles leading to unsightly streets?

What do YOU think?

Ben Oakes

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