A recently published survey of 91 Local Authorities and a number of small to medium sized house builders undertaken by the Federation of Master Builders [FMB] and the Local Government Information Unit [LGIU] reveals a number of interesting statistics about housing development delivery and how the situation might be improved.

The Chief Executive of the FMB stated that the Government’s housing delivery targets will not be met unless a greater number of small to medium sized developers enter the housing market and are successful in delivering housing from a greater number of small development sites.  The availability of suitable small sites and the serious problems often encountered in seeking planning permission are a major barrier to growing this important sector of the house building industry.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 90% of Councils consider meeting Government housing targets to be impossible.
  • 55% of Councils reported that the quality of applications is poor.
  • 79% of small house builders confirmed the planning system is overly onerous and complicated.
  • 80% of small builders reported that Planning Authorities do not proactively communicate or engage with them.

We say, nothing new then!

The research suggests that too often small sites are dealt with by more junior inexperienced Local Authority Planning Officers and this makes the determination process very inefficient.  The report makes a number of recommendations that we at FoddyConsult wholeheartedly support as sensible improvements to the planning system:

  • Councils should include a positive and suggested target for housing delivery from small sites in Local Plans as part of the overall strategic 5 year housing land supply and how Planning Authorities could assist in bringing such sites forward.
  • An initiative should be developed by Councils on a regional basis to pool and share staff, resources and skills to assist in the efficient determination of small site planning applications.
  • Planning application fee rates should be flexible to actively assist with encouraging housing delivery from small sites.

The Chief Executive of the LGIU concluded that there is large untapped potential in small sites though resource and capacity pressures in Planning Authorities make it difficult to unlock.  New approvals and new partnerships are needed to build the homes required.  He says that Councils can stimulate local economic growth whilst also providing jobs and training for young people by working in partnership with a wider range of local builders.


For more information please contact:

John Foddy, Managing Director