October Already!

Published: 07/10/2023 By Allan Fuller

October already! 

Now we are in the season of the political parties having their annual conferences, so get ready for the promised of 300,000 new homes every year from the various contenders for power.
 
Sadly,  we get this promise every year and before each General  Election, and yet the rate of creating new homes is depressingly slow. According to the official stats (below) only c. 204k homes were created in 2022, find out more here.

This is not due to developers not wanting to build, it is often due to antiquated planning laws and local authorities taking too long to consider planning applications. Of course, new housing has to be regulated but streamlining of the process is vital. 

Councillors on the planning committees of Local Authorities cannot all be experts, they are however influenced by representations but their constituents, therefore liable to go against the recommendation of the planning officers of their borough. This then results in the developer taking their application to appeal, which takes ages, 6 months is not unusual, the eventual decision will not be decided on trivial objections, so very often the appeal will succeed. The process has added to the costs of the development, but the  delay will have been considerable.
 
Not only do we need brand new homes, but existing properties can also often be adapted and vastly improved to create new homes. Legislation does exist for offices to be converted to residential homes. More of this will happen due to companies needing less space because of staff home working.
 
The Green Belt is considered to be sacrosanct, but it is not enshrined in law that nothing can be built, it is largely down to the area local authority, there are in fact areas where there can be development, such as a development replacing ugly industrial areas with suitable considerately designed eco homes.