British public 'overwhelmingly NIMBY', survey finds

Out-Law News | 26 Jan 2016 | 3:25 pm | 1 min. read

A survey conducted by a political strategy consultancy has found that the British public is "overwhelmingly NIMBY" - an acronym that stands for 'not in my back yard' and reflects an attitude resistant to local development.

The survey, conducted by Development Intelligence, also found high levels of resistance to development and a distrust of developers' viability reports among elected councillors.

The survey found that, whilst 55% of members of the general public supported the development of private homes for sale, only 49% supported the development of social housing, 39% supported build to rent housing and 90% of the general public thought their own neighbourhood was "already overdeveloped" or "fine the way it is".

Development Intelligence reported that "older, more suburban people who are likely to own their own homes" objected most strongly to development. Traffic impacts and impacts on the character of the local area were the main reasons given for resistance to new development.

Support for development among elected councillors was higher, with 77% in favour of new private homes, 80% supporting social housing and 59% supporting build to rent. However, nearly four out of five elected councillors felt that their own neighbourhood was "already overdeveloped" or "fine the way it is".

Just over half of elected councillors said they thought the National Planning Policy Framework had "done more harm than good" since it was introduced in 2012. Councillors also demonstrated a mixed attitude towards developers, with 77% saying they believed "the government's planning changes have put too much power in the hands of developers" and 82% saying "they rarely or never trust developers' viability reports".

Planning expert Beth Grant of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: "Through the government's localism agenda, local residents now have more powers than ever to shape the way that development is carried out within their area. Unfortunately, despite more than half of the respondents recognising that there is a national need for housing, it seems likely that the government and local authorities will find themselves faced with an uphill struggle to tackle the UK's growing housing crisis in the face of local opposition to development."