Richard Carr discusses changes to National Planning Policy Framework

Last week the Prime Minister announced a major overhaul to the planning framework in the UK, in a bid to deliver the number of homes we need.

The reforms focus on maximising land use, strengthening protection for Green Belt land and putting more emphasis on turning planning permissions into actual homes. Continue reading

Is the government’s £1m new homes by 2020 target achievable?

The government pledged in the recent Housing and Planning Bill that it would build a million new homes by 2020, a target that property developer Richard Carr felt was slightly ambitious.


Richard Carr 200,000 homes image

Is the government’s target achievable?

However, land agent Aston Mead has hit back at doubters claiming that the target is based on current figures and is a reality.

In contrast, a recent survey of owner and directors of 389 house builders across England found that a small majority (51%) thought that the target would not be met.

Current output of homes is increasing rapidly, with build rates on large sites doubling since 2010. There were more than 180,000 new homes delivered in 2014/2015, with this year’s figure expected to be higher still.

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Richard Carr supports councils’ calls for the government to provide more affordable homes

96% of local councils in the United Kingdom have claimed that their need for affordable housing is severe or moderate and have called upon the government to do more to tackle affordable housing prices, writes property developer Richard Carr.


Richard Carr's affordable housing

Affordable Homes

The Association for Public Service Excellent (APSE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) have published a report calling for urgent government action to deliver the homes needed in the UK.

The report reveals:

  • 72% of councils think the National Planning Police Framework (NPPF) hinders building of affordable housing
  • 96% of councils say that their need for affordable housing is severe or moderate
  • 7% think starter homes will help address affordable housing

“With 96% of councils describing their need for affordable homes as severe or moderate, and 89% worried that the extension of Right to Buy will lead to less affordable homes, it is clear that there is a real crisis,” Kate Henderson, chief executive of the TCPA, told

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UK property market continues to heat up

Despite the EU referendum and a number of other factors, the UK’s residential property market continues to flourish and has outperformed the predictions that were set for the start of 2016, writes property developer Richard Carr.


Richard Carr image of Leeds

The UK’s residential market has started 2016 at breakneck speed

According to analysis from Connells Group, the property market in the UK started 2016 at breakneck speed with more buoyant activity than the positive sentiment experienced during the final quarter of 2015.

Low interest rates and a number of economic factors has seen the number of active buyers entering the property market reach new heights. David Livesey of Connells explained to that the low interest rates has encouraged those on the fence to make their first move onto the property ladder.

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Is the EU referendum already starting to affect property markets?

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the forthcoming EU referendum is already affecting property markets with uncertainty creeping into decision making.


Richard Carr

Is Brexit good for property?

Although there has been plenty of positives coming out of the industry over the past months in relation to increase planning applications and new funds to help social housing, the country’s housing shortage remains one of its major problems.

As a result of the increasing uncertainty around the decision that will be made following the referendum, residential investment transactions in the residential sector have slowed and limited house buying transactions across the house price spectrum.

However, there’s no need to panic, yet.

“This is not unexpected as there’s usually a slowing of residential transactions before any national poll. After an election vote we typically see the residential sector recover and bounce back as stability and confidence returns,” the report says.

“Should the UK opt for a Brexit, we could assume that uncertainty could linger while the UK Government negotiates new trade deals and relationships with the EU and third countries,” it adds.

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Independent panel criticises Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

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.


Richard Carr image of Liz Peace

Liz Peace

Last week the government set up an independent panel to review CIL and look at ways in which it could be improved. Former British Property Federation CEO Liz Peace chaired the panel and told a National Planning Summit that the levy “is not providing a huge amount of funding for infrastructure” and has failed to provide a “faster, simpler, more transparent system’ than section 106.

Furthermore, she said that the review team were “not convinced that CIL has met the primary purpose of when it was set up”.

“We don’t actually think it’s providing a huge amount of funding for infrastructure, and it most certainly hasn’t provided a faster, simpler, more transparent system,” Peace said.

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Green Belt development soaring

Local authorities grip on Green Belt land is getting weaker and weaker by the minute as new research suggests that the number of homes being built on Green Belt land is set to soar over the coming years, writes property consultant Richard Carr.


Richard Carr's Green Belt image

Can anyone stop green belt development?

Green Belt development policy is slowly abating as the government responds to the growing housing crisis. An increasing number of loopholes in planning guidance are being found, whilst local councils find themselves under increasing pressure from the government to release Green Belt land for new development through an ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause.

The claims come from new research produced by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, who are concerned about the amount of development that will occur on protected land in the coming years.

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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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MPs support increase in planning fees

A poll conducted by the British Property Federation (BPF) has found that they majority of UK parliamentarians support a rise in planning fees to help under resourced local planning authorities.


Richard Carr Planning Permission

Planning fees set to rise

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.

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Is it time for the National Planning Policy Framework to be reviewed?

The government is being called upon by MPs to carry out a detailed review of the current national planning policy before the end of this parliament, writes property developer Richard Carr.


Richard Carr National Planning Policy review

Is it time for a National Planning Policy review?

Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012, there has been little review and now an all-party group of MPs has voiced their concerns that there has been “no robust, objective or evidence-based monitoring, evaluation or review.

The group of MPs are part of the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, which published a report in early April considering the government’s latest proposed changes to the NPPF.

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