In the final quarter of last year the number of planning permissions granted were up 13% on the same quarter 12 months earlier as developers tried to keep up with the country’s housing demand, writes property specialist Richard Carr.
In total, there were 255,032 initial planning permissions granted in England during 2015, up a staggering 57% from a low point of 162,204 in 2009, according to the latest pipeline report.
The Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) report found that the steady rise in applications has helped improve housing supply over the past two years as more of the permissions progress to the point that work can begin on building new dwellings.
Housing stock is rising in the UK as the construction industry continues to grow; over 180,000 new homes were added to housing stock in 2014/2015, which is up 22% on the previous year.
Despite the number of initial planning permissions increasing, Richard Carr still believes that there are too many hurdles to cross and complexities to navigate before building work can get underway on a site.
Richard believes that there’s more the government can do to streamline the planning process, which will help local authorities deal with the increasing amount of applications and improve the supply of homes.
“The number of planning applications now being submitted demonstrates the commitment of the industry to deliver further increases in housing supply,” said Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF.
“The past two years have seen huge increases in house building levels. Whilst the increase in the number of permissions is welcome, and a strong indicator of future supply, many still have to navigate the complexities of the planning system,” he explained.
The HBF believes the government’s decision to introduce a competition element to the planning industry could speed up the system. Incentivising local authorities to ensure that their planning departments have sufficient capacity to deal with an increase volume of applications could see developers receive quicker decisions on their plans.