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Housing delivery being slowed down at local authority level, Redrow claims

Out-Law News | 15 Sep 2015 | 1:36 pm | 1 min. read

Housebuilder Redrow has said in its annual operating review that the delivery of homes is being slowed down at the local authority level.

In the operating review released alongside the company's annual report last week, the housebuilder said that "whilst a well communicated policy at government level is essential to building more homes, ultimately delivery is very much in the hands of local authorities where all too often planning is stifled by local politics, a lack of resources and unnecessary bureaucracy".

The accompanying statement from Redrow chairman Steve Morgan said the local plan process had improved since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework and the company welcomed the government's plans to intervene where local authorities failed to publish local plans by 2017.

He said the government's Help to Buy scheme had been a "major driver for the [housing] industry to increase output, with 40% of Redrow's private legal completions using the scheme over the past financial year. He also said the company welcomed "the principle of the government's Starter Homes initiative and eagerly await[ed] the details of how this will be delivered".

However, Morgan said that despite an increase in outline planning approvals, "gaining reserved matters and detailed planning consents is still taking far too long". He said the company was committed "to contribute to the increasing number of new homes to be built" but called for the removal of "the burden of red tape associated with needless planning reports and conditions".

Planning expert Ben Mansell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "Local authorities delaying planning decisions is not a new issue and is unlikely to have been helped by the government budget cuts over the last few years. However, with the government putting greater pressure on local authorities to deliver housing and the implementation of policies such as Starter Homes, hopefully this trend can be reversed. The impact of devolution will also be interesting; while in the long term it will provide local authorities with greater housing powers and should reduce delays to planning decisions, in the short term it may lead to further uncertainty."