Government pulls 50% of funding for Planning Advisory Service

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have added extra pain on the planning system by reducing its annual government grant to the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) by half, writes property developer Richard Carr.


Richard Carr planning policy image

The PAS is set to be hit by 50% cuts

The Planning Resource revealed earlier this week that the Local Government Association, which runs PAS, received a letter from Planning Minister Brandon Lewis explaining the changes to the funding. As a result, the DCLG has reduced its funding by 50%, which means that PAS will along receive £1m in government grants.

According to Planning Resource, the reduction is a knock-on effect of the substantial reduction the DCLG’s resource budget from 2016/17 onwards.

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Does the government have a short term approach to house building? raised an interesting point recently regarding the government’s view to house building and in their attempts to build as many homes as possible, have they lost sight of design and build quality?


Richard Carr house building

Is the government bothered about design and build quality?

Property developer Richard Carr has always felt that the government’s target of building 200,000 new homes by 2020 was very ambitious. His 30 years’ experience in the industry and knowing the current issues with the planning system lead him to believe that the claim was used to gain votes rather than be put into practice.

Despite being a long way off their target, the government has continued to use this target and house building has increased slightly. At what cost, though?

A report published by the House of Lords Built Environment Select Committee Report has questioned if the government’s short term approach to building will negatively affect design and quality.

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Has the government started to turn around the housing market?

In another rather bold claim, the government announced that it has turned around the housing market making the dream of homeownership a reality, writes Richard Carr.

Home owners on the rise

Richard Carr New Build Homes

Has the government turned around the housing market?

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis’ claims are substantiated by the latest figures which show more than a decade-long decline in the number of people owning their home has been turned around with more than 14 million owner occupiers on the UK in 2013.

“Hard-working families across the country are getting the chance to realise their dream of homeownership,” said Lewis.

“In 2010 there was a housing market where buyers couldn’t buy, builders couldn’t build and lenders couldn’t lend.

“Our efforts are turning that around with more than 270,000 families helped into homeownership through government-backed schemes since 2010, while the number of new homes is up 25% over the last year.”

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Government puts surplus land up for sale

Positive news emanated from the government at the end of January with David Cameron and his team announcing that hundreds of acres of land would be put up for sale to help boost house building in the UK, writes property developer Richard Carr.

600 acres

Richard Carr Starter Homes image

Finally, the government provides developers with some motivation

In a bid to help meet the government’s 2020 target of building 200,000 per year, it has put 600 acres of surplus public sector land on the market. They hope it will deliver tens of thousands of new homes, boosting local growth across the country.

Richard Carr still believes there is more the government can do in terms of policies around planning, but does see the move as a positive step and proof that they are serious about getting the country building again.

Housing Minster Brandon Lewis has urged property developers to use this opportunity to build the homes “hard-working people” want and deserve.

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Where are all the builders?

Another year, but still the same old problems for the construction industry as a skills shortage continues to prevent the industry growing says development specialist Richard Carr.

Planning permissions reach record high

Richard Carr Builders

Where are all the builders?

Based on a study commissioned by the Local Government Association, planning permissions from last year were up 25% on three years ago. However, almost half million approved homes remain empty spaces yet to be constructed upon.

Richard Carr believes that this highlights the many barriers that both developers and home building firms currently face. The main hurdle – and one that has plagued the industry for many years – is a dire skills shortage. Last year councils granted 212,478 planning permissions for homes, but a lack of skills, increased costs and cuts to margins has seen building slow down.

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Government ditch house builders to go it alone

According to, David Cameron is set go it alone in his bid to meet the government’s affordable housing target after losing patience with housebuilders, writes property specialist Richard Carr.

Going it alone

Richard Carr small home builders

Is the government right to go it alone?

The reports claim that David Cameron is set to announce that the government will “directly” build up to 13,000 new affordable homes on public land. The PM is expected to unveil these “radical” plans in the next few days, which he claims (rather ambitiously) will match Margaret Thatcher and Michael Hesltine’s regeneration of London’s Docklands in the 1980s in significance.

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New developments needed as housing activity reaches six month peak

Development specialist Richard Carr has called upon all areas of the property sector to continue the recent residential boom by providing more new build properties.

Six month high

Richard Carr Small Developers

Can the supply meet the demand?

New data produced by Connells Survey & Valuation shows that the current UK residential housing market climbed to its second highest level during September and the highest for six months.

March 2015 was the highest level in terms of market activity, however September saw just .5% fewer valuations carried out.

Compared to this time last year, total valuation activity is up 29%, whilst the number of valuations carried out specifically for first time buyers rose by 25% in September.

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Permitted developments on office-to-residential set to stay

In a move that has pleased Development Specialist Richard Carr, Planning and Housing minister Brandon Lewis last week announced that the temporary office-to-residential permitted development (PD) right will be made permanent.

Rip down and start again

Richard Carr Office to Commercial

Temporary rights are set to be made permanent on permitted developments

On top of making the temporary right permanent, Minister Lewis also said that the move would allow for unused office buildings to be pulled down and replaced with residential buildings.

The temporary decision was due to lapse at the end of May 2016.

Also, for developers who applied for a change of use during the temporary period, Lewis confirmed that they will three years in which to complete the change of use. In addition to the new PD rights, developers will be allowed to change the use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes.

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Build to rent is changing property sphere in the UK

According to the British Property Federation, Britain is on the verge of a rental revolution which is likely to have a positive effect on the economy, writes development specialist Richard Carr.

£30bn investment

Richard Carr Build to Rent

Is Build to Rent changing the property landscape?

The above figures is estimated to be available of institutional investment to build and managed new, purpose built rental properties.

Currently nine million Brits rent accommodation and under this new shift which will see a more professional run market they will benefit from better value, greater transparency and purpose built homes/flats.

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