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News Release

Birmingham

Planning Conference warns of looming Housing Crisis

as only 60 per cent of the houses required are being permitted


JLL_Birmingham_Peter LeaverBirmingham, 17th February, 2014 - Whilst there has been much talk of the need to prevent a looming housing crisis, leading property professionals at a recent Midlands Planning Conference say the warnings are not being heeded.


Peter Leaver planning director at Jones Lang LaSalle, joint organisers of the conference with No5 Chambers, said 18 months on from the National Planning Policy Framework and only 60 per cent of the houses required are being permitted.

Peter reported that the general consensus was that choosing the right site to develop and invest in to obtain planning permission was not getting any easier. He said:

"More worryingly, people at the conference felt that unless the system or approach changes, there would appear to be an insufficient number of developable sites to bridge the gap between supply and demand."


The relationship between people and planning was also cited by some of the 170 delegates attending, as a key area requiring change and in particular educating the silent majority.

"It's clear we need to better educate those not directly involved in planning, the importance of key issues such as the looming housing crisis so they can make better informed decisions.  They need to fully understand the effects of Nimbyism and the implications for their neighbourhood and wider community, not just for the here and now but for the generations to come who will be severely effected by a lack of housing that is affordable."

New Towns were suggested as a possible solution to solving the housing shortage and a return to regional or more strategic planning to provide a more robust top down framework.

Peter explained:

"Despite the NPPF and Localism agenda, the housing growth figures are imposed not on at a regional level but by Central Government.  The Office for National Statistics is responsible for producing the figures and the most recent projected housing growth levels are often greater than those imposed by the previous Regional Planning Authorities.

"Birmingham is an obvious case in point." adds Peter.
 
"The Treasury has essentially taken over planning as it recognised the importance of the construction sector to the UK and how housing can make a quicker and bigger impact to the bottom-line than waiting for huge infrastructure projects such as HS2 to get off the ground.
 

 

"As a consequence, the Localism agenda and the supposed bottom-up planning decisions have become more top down again."
Peter concluded that the improving economy, and a rising market would only put the system under even greater pressure.

 

"If the feeling is that the system and processes are taking too long now, when the market really hots up we could be heading for further trouble.  Organisations such as Shelter are already saying there is going to be a lost generation of young people unable to access quality housing and that more affordable homes need to be built.  This situation is only going to worsen if we don't have a grown-up debate about how we overcome this shortage and enable more permissions to be granted."