SME House Builders Demand Changes to Planning System

As Chancellor George Osborne prepares to give his Autumn Statement on December 3rd, the Home Builders Federation is lobbying for improvements to help small builders in the UK deliver more homes.

The HBF wants the current planning system to be more efficient, with a reduction in the time taken to reach the permission stage of actually being able to go ahead with the work.

According to research carried out by the HBF, 4 out of every 5 small house builders have disappeared in the past 25 years as a result of bureaucracy. On top of this, there has been a 78% fall in the number of developers building 100 units or less between 1988 and 2013.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, believes the current system is too slow, overly complex and costly.

He said: “We need a system that is responsive to current housing needs and not one that acts as a constraint.

“If the industry is to build more homes more quickly we must address the failings inherent in the current planning process.”

Smaller developers are being stalled by the complex planning system

Mr Baselely wants more support provided for British SME builders that are being hit particularly hard by the current set up.

He said: “We need to see more help given to smaller developers, whose numbers have collapsed in recent years due largely to rising planning and regulatory cost.

“If we are to build 200,000 plus homes a year, all parts of the industry need to deliver and we need more players on the pitch.”

Cutting red tape, introducing Government-backed development funding schemes for SMEs and ensuring local authorities are making smaller sites available when allocating land for development are among the recommendations being put forward.