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HBF report: 195,000 in-principle planning permissions granted

Words: Laura Edgar

Figures released in the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Glenigan’s Housing Pipeline report reveal that 195,000 permissions were granted in principle in England in 2014.

This, the New Housing Pipeline (pdf) outlines, is a 12 per cent increase on 2013 and a 39 per cent increase on 2012.

HBF said the homes identified in the report should be built in the next two to three years once they have completed the remainder of the planning process.

While the increase is positive, it “can only be translated into desperately needed new homes if local authorities ensure their planning departments have the capacity to process these permissions to the stage that they can actually be built”, explained HBF.

There are too many sites currently sitting in the planning system, added HBF. Some 150,000 plots are at the outline planning permission stage, waiting for full sign-off from local authorities.

Stewart Baseley, HBF chief executive, said that the figures in this report are a “barometer on potential future build rates”.

“Getting the required number of permissions, in a timely manner, is absolutely key to the industry’s ability to deliver. In addition, more needs to be done to speed up the plots that are awaiting final approval to allow construction to commence.”

Glenigan’s economic director, Allan Wilén, explained: “The 20 per cent rise in planning approvals in the final quarter of 2014 was driven by an increase in private sector projects and reflects developers’ confidence at prospects for the housing market during the year ahead. Furthermore, the rise in approvals has been broadly based across Britain, pointing to widespread strengthening in housing market activity.”

A key way to achieving a sustainable, and significant, way to increasing housing supply is to speed up the rate at which permissions are granted, and local authorities therefore, said HBF, must be sufficiently resourced.

Baseley added: “If we are to meet housing demand it is imperative that the planning system continues to evolve such that it delivers planning permissions at the rate required to address our housing crisis.

“Increasing housing delivery will provide the high-quality homes that our next generation needs, support thousands of companies up and down the land and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

The report follows figures released in February showing a rise in the number of new homes started in England in 2014.