The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for SME Housebuilders report — supported by Aldermore — was published this week after it asked its members for their views on the issues they face in the planning process, and how it could be improved.
Chaired by MP Andrew Lewer, the APPG is to submit the report to the minister of housing, Christopher Pincher, ahead of the launch of the government’s planning whitepaper later this year.
The whitepaper aims to modernise the planning system, ensuring it “supports the delivery of homes that local people need”.
The APPG report noted that the obvious barrier to success is that SME housebuilders are at a disadvantage because of their size as they are unable to absorb delays and additional costs as readily as larger companies, imposed on them by the planning system.
It also highlighted that smaller development sites are not necessarily easier to get through the system or require less expertise than larger developments, therefore, it is more cost effective to promote larger sites.
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The report contains 17 recommendations, including:
- more certainty and consistency in the planning system
- a 26-week planning guarantee
- strategic sites to be earmarked for a percentage of SME housebuilders
- the need for an efficient and well-funded planning system (especially at local authority level)
- design reviews to take place early on in the process
- small site register to assist SME housebuilders in delivery and meet local housing needs.
A full copy of the report and recommendations is available online.
“SME housebuilders are the front-line troops in our national ambition to both increase housebuilding, quality of build, and enhance [the] reputation of construction as an optimal career choice,” said Andrew Lewer.
“The quality and the quantity of the responses we have received underlines the constructive approach in which the APPG operates.
“People who really know what they are talking about have given their time and their effort towards the stimulating responses to be found in our report.
“We will try our best to ensure that the views our members help reform the planning system fit for the future and thank Aldermore for their support.”
Tim Boag, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore bank, added: “Aldermore is backing a number of SME housebuilders to develop sites across the UK and they tell us of the planning issues they are experiencing, many of which are described by the APPG in this timely report.
“These cause delays and prevent new homes from being developed for young people, families, and for older members of our society.
“Up until the 1990s, SME housebuilders were responsible for many of the new homes and housing estates that were built across the UK.
“We now need them more than ever if the UK is to achieve the government target of building 300,000 new homes a year.
“Aldermore supports the report’s findings and hope they help change the planning system for the good of both SME housebuilders and the delivery of much needed homes.”