Sunday, 4 March 2012

Planning Permissions Drought Worsens. Figures show housing permissions have halved in 4 years

"This is a stark reminder as to why Government must stand firm and deliver a robust and pro-growth planning system", says HBF spokesman.

The report, compiled for HBF by Glenigan reveals;
Total 2011 permissions granted in England lowest since survey started in 2006
Just 115k permissions granted in 2011, half the 2006 level and half the number required
In Q4 2011 approval was granted for just 27,732 units in England - 6% down on Q3 2010
Just 16,334 social units approved in 2011, down 47% on 2010 and 52% on 2006
Quarterly average in 2011 was 28,853 compared to 33,535 in 2010 and 53,116 in 2006

Figures released in HBF's latest Housing Pipeline report reveal that approvals for just 27,732 homes across England were granted in Q4 of last year, a fall on Q3 and on the same period a year earlier. It means that the total number of permissions granted in 2011 was the lowest since HBF started the survey in 2007, with permissions running at half the level of four years ago and half that required to build the homes needed to meet demand.

The figures are a huge wakeup call and forcibly demonstrate why Government must stand firm and deliver a pro growth National Planning Policy Framework and resist the vocal anti development lobby's scaremongering.

If the new planning system is not pro-growth other positive measures - for example the NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme, Get Britain Building, release of public land - cannot succeed in boosting housing supply.

Planning permissions granted now will, in the main, be built during the next three or four years. At a time when fewer homes are being built in England than at any time since the 1920s, the figures reveal the potential for intensifying the country's housing crisis.

The social effects of continuing to undersupply homes are obvious: five million people languish on local authority waiting lists, millions more live in over-crowded and substandard accommodation, whilst first-time buyers have all but disappeared - further stagnating the housing market. An additional 140,000 homes a year are needed to meet demand. Delivering these could create half a million jobs and boost the economy both locally and nationally.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said; "This is a stark reminder as to why Government must stand firm and deliver a robust and adequate planning system.

"Government has recently unveiled some very positive measures aimed at boosting housing supply, particularly the NewBuy scheme, but they cannot succeed unless we have a truly pro-growth functioning planning system.

"The new system must provide enough viable land to build the number of homes the country needs. Continuing the current record low level of house-building is storing up huge social and economic problems for the years ahead and the shortfall must be addressed.

"Building the homes we need would take millions off social housing waiting lists and enable beleaguered first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder. It could also create half a million new jobs, and give the country a huge economic boost."

Allan Wilén, Glenigan's Economics Director, commented, "The number of new homes securing planning approval hit a new low last year, falling below the previous low point set in 2009 during the depths of the recession. The near halving in social housing units securing approval was especially stark and combined with the continued weakness of private housing approvals leaves the overall number new homes at 132,000. This is half the level of annual approvals seen during 2006 and 2007 prior to the recession."

The Government is currently considering responses to its consultation on the NPPF that will provide the nuts and bolts of its new planning system. Its draft proposal empowers local people, businesses and charities to shape growth in their communities. It strikes a balance between economic growth, a presumption in favour of sustainable development and existing environmental protection.


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