Author Topic: Relaxing planning controls will not mean more new homes are built  (Read 6031 times)

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Relaxing planning controls will not mean more new homes are built
« on: September 24, 2012, 10:11:07 am »
The government's recent announcement to relax planning requirements and suspend the requirements for social and affordable housing on new developments will not necessarily result in an increase in the number of new homes currently being built.

The Local Government Association has released figures that show over 400,000 prospective homes that have planning permission have yet to be even started. It says these "conclusively prove" the planning system is not holding back the construction of new homes. It could be said that house builders are hoarding plots to limit availability to maintain prices. The 14 largest house builders have a combined landbank of 320,650 plots. Considering they built just 55,170 new homes between them last year (2011/12) they have nearly six-years' supply of plots with planning approval.

Planners are claiming that it is the lack of finance that is preventing new homes being built not planning delays. But many house builders would add that finance is just part of the problem. In some parts of the country house prices have fallen by a quarter whilst the cost of fuel and building materials have been rising. The increasing charges being levied by Councils under Section 106 agreements and more recently the Community Infrastructure Charge are also increasing the cost of each new home.

David Cameron claimed on ITV's Daybreak that developers were being held back by the "many obligations" on them to build affordable housing. He said "under the government's plans, if developers can prove these requirements make a site not commercially viable, the conditions will be removed".

Whilst this may help reduce the cost of building a new home to some extent, other costs such as those for expensive environmental impact assessments for anything from noise and traffic, to newts, badgers and bats that councils regularly require, all add to the new home buyer’s mortgage. In addition, the burden of the ever-increasing eco-agenda will increase the cost of building a new home even more. From 2016, under new Building Regulations, all new homes will be required to be zero-carbon. This will add around £43,000 to the cost of the average new home at today's prices.
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