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Underfunded planning departments hamper housing construction

The underfunding of local authority planning departments is posing a significant obstacle to the construction of new housing, according to a survey conducted by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), Close Brothers Property Finance, and Travis Perkins plc.

The survey, which polled 305 SMEs, revealed that 93% of small- and medium-sized developers cite delays in securing planning permission as a major barrier to growth, with 91% reporting that planning departments are under-resourced.

Additionally, nearly half (46%) of respondents noted that the cost of obtaining planning permission had increased by over 30% in the past three years, even before the introduction of December's planning fee rises.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, expressed concern over the situation, highlighting the sharp declines in housing supply and the challenges faced by SMEs in managing planning delays. Baseley emphasised the urgent need for a reversal of the anti-development approach by the government to prevent further deterioration in the industry, warning that continued obstacles could lead to the disappearance of more companies.


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