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Panel to review barriers to building announced

Words: Laura Edgar
Building / Shutterstock_462881611

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced who will sit alongside Sir Oliver Letwin to review housing build-out rates.

The review was announced in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget in November last year.

After planning permission is granted, a government statement noted that a “variety” of factors can prevent development from starting, thereby slowing down delivery.

The panel has been tasked with reviewing the gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated for permission, and consider how to avoid interventions that might discourage housebuilding.

It will then make recommendations on how to reduce the gap between permissions given and the number built out, thereby increasing the speed of build-out.

The panel comprises:

  • Richard Ehrman – author, small commercial property developer and former journalist. Former special adviser to the Secretary of State for Employment and subsequently Northern Ireland, one-time chief leader writer of the Daily Telegraph, and former deputy chairman of Policy Exchange.
  • Lord Jitesh Gadhia – Member of the House of Lords and investment banker.
  • Lord John Hutton – (Labour) Peer and former secretary of state.
  • Rt Hon Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, PC – (Crossbench) Peer with a career spanning public, not-for-profit and private sectors, currently deputy chairman at the British Council and a non-executive director of Nationwide Building Society.
  • Christine Whitehead – emeritus professor of housing economics at the London School of Economics.

Sir Oliver Letwin, chairman of the review panel, said: “This government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build-out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it.

“That’s why we have set up this diverse panel to help me test my analysis and to make practical, non-partisan recommendations as we look to increase housing supply that’s consistent with a stable UK housing market.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid said the review is “vital” in helping the government understand how we can build more homes quickly.

Richard Blyth, head of policy at the RTPI, said the institute “welcomes the opportunity to work with Sir Oliver on the review”.

“We appreciate that the issue is complex and requires a deep and evidence-based discussion. We also appreciate the government’s acknowledgement that simply having more planning permissions is not the whole of the answer. We will be helping the team with our own evidence, including the Delivery and Affordability of Housing in the South West of England published last autumn.”

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