The finger has been pointed at many possible reasons, but who or what is responsible for the current state of the country’s housing shortage?
Who is to blame for the housing shortage?
Poole-based property developer Richard Carr has worked in the industry for 30 years and has seen just about everything. He’s currently managing a number of high profile developments in the south of England including the £100m redevelopment of Salterns Marina in Poole.
New analysis produced by the London School of Economics has pointed the finger squarely at the government for the housing crisis, explaining that decades of planning policies that constrain the supply of houses and land and turn them into something like gold is to blame.
Salford, Greater Manchester, is leading the way in terms of brownfield development with a recent report from its council showing that 87.9% of new homes were built on brownfield land, writes property developer Richard Carr.
Middlewood Locks in Salford
Richard Carr believes that councils and home builders should target brownfield land before looking at green belt land for developments. Building upon disused brownfield land can regenerate communities and bring life into areas that was suffering economically.
Salford City Council’s report covered the period between April 1 2015 and March 31 2016. The result is pleasing one for the council who have encouraged developers to use brownfield sites as far as possible.
Councillor Derek Antrobus told salfordonline.com: “Salford needs new homes and we need as many as possible to be built on brownfield sites. This not only eases pressure on green spaces but it means new homes are built closer to existing jobs, schools and shops.
There has been more good news for the property market this week with new data showing that the number of planning application approvals for new homes in London has increased by 46% on last quarter, writes property developer Richard Carr.
Planning approvals on the rise in the capital
Richard Carr believes this rapid increase shows that there is plenty of confidence in the market at the moment with planners putting more applications in and authorities working quicker and more effectively to get them approved.
If the government are to have any chance of getting the country out of the current housing crisis this has to continue.
In the second quarter of 2016 some 6,310 new homes were approved out of a possible 8,280 applications, an approval rate of 76%, according to the London New Homes Monitor from estate agents Stirling Ackroyd.
The Planning Inspectorate has openly admitted flaws within its agency and promises that appeal delays experienced by property developers such as Richard Carr have been sorted.
Have planning delays been resolved?
The new chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) Sarah Richards has insisted that the problems faced by customers during the last financial year with the PINS appeals service were to be a thing of the past. According to Richards the agency is “well advanced” with its actions designed to resolve the problems.
Speaking in the agency’s recently published annual report, Richards admitted: “in several areas of our planning appeals service, we fell well short of our targets, and in many cases, our customers experienced significant delays”.
The admission is a breath of fresh air to Richard Carr who having worked in the industry for 30 years has always felt that planning departments hide behind excuses. He sees Richards’ first actions as the new CEO a step in the right direction.
The government is being called upon by industry experts to improve the current new home building quality standard to put consumers first, writes property developer Richard Carr.
Is a new home building standard required?
Members of Parliament and a number of construction experts propose that the government sets up a New Homes Ombudsman to mediate in disputes between home buyers and builders.
The request forms a 10-part list of recommendations to improve the quality of workmanship in new homes and provide consumers with easier and cheaper forms of redress, should a problem arise.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE) believe UK house builders should be upping their game when it comes to developing new build properties. APPGEBE believe they should be putting consumers at the heart of their business model and that the government should use its power to promote high quality within the industry at every opportunity.
Williams has urged the government to look at a new approach to planning and one that will “recognise, support and invest in the benefits that planning can deliver.”
Richard Carr believes that the government doesn’t take the planning system seriously enough and see its wider benefits to the country’s economy; including jobs, investment and clearly the housing shortage.
Williams added: “endless reform has not produced better growth, better housing, or better communities.”
The newly introduced bill will introduce a number of reforms that will speed up the planning process and hand local communities more power regarding neighbourhood planning.
The government stated: “the new legislation would tackle the overuse, and in some cases, misuse of certain planning conditions, and thereby ensure that development can get underway without unnecessary delay.”
In the Queen’s speech she also outlined plans to streamline pre-commencement planning conditions to speed up housing developments.
Property Developer Richard Carr recently spoke out in the Bournemouth Echo about the need to rethink the way that property taxes such as s106 payments and CIL are being implemented, an opinion which is now being shared by an independent panel.
61% of MPs agreed that fees should increase, whilst 47% say they should increase but with stronger guarantees on planning performance. The feeling was supported by the country’s two main political parties. Labour MPs voted in favour by 65% and the Conservative’s by 61%.
In a survey conducted by the BPF and GL Hearn in 2015, 55% of local planning authorities cited under resourcing as a major challenge, whilst 65% of applicants said they would be happy to pay extra to reduced waiting times.