Government must press ahead with planning reforms

Responding to the Spending Review, planning specialists at Daniel Watney LLP, a full-service property consultancy, called on the Chancellor to push ahead with planning reforms.

George Osborne revealed plans to build 400,000 new affordable homes as part of a wider effort to boost homeownership, which has been in decline since peaking at 69 per cent in 2001.

Crucial to improving homeownership is the delivery of new homes, says Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney LLP, which can only happen if changes to the planning system continue.

The effects of devolution on house building also need to be reviewed, with local and neighbourhood plans often being used to stop rather than encourage development.

Centrally set housing targets, calculated according to local housing need, need to be considered, Mills argues.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, said:

“We have seen some good progress by this government, with housing topping the agenda in a way not seen in decades. The recently announced review of planning fees is positive – provided a rise results in a better service.

“The government is also right to push the public sector to open its estate up for development, and to focus on delivering more high-density housing in key locations.

“But what the government has yet to recognise is that its ‘devolution revolution’ in some cases is actually harming housing delivery. Local and Neighbourhood Plans are increasingly being used to stop rather than enable development. Centrally-mandated house building targets, based on local housing need, may be the only way forward.”