More Planning Applications Approved
The latest figures show that the number of planning applications that were granted in principle in 2014 increased by 12%. This equated to almost 200,000 new homes and was a rise of 39% on the 2012 figures. However, more is still required to ensure that these applications move smoothly through the planning system and result in more homes being built to meet the increase in demand.
The report, released by the Home Builders' Federation with Glenigan, highlights that the level of applications that reach full planning approval needs to rise further, as more consumers are looking to buy. This will require local authorities to ensure applications are processed smoothly to allow more homes to be constructed.
Those applications that receive approval in principle will still need to go through the rest of the process, and it could be around two to three years before work on the site is completed. The report also shows that more homes are being started, with a 36% increase between 2012 and 2014.
The reason that more sites are requiring planning approval is that the new homes that are being built are now selling quicker. Buyers have more confidence in the market, so they are starting to look for their first or subsequent properties, including those with a wrought iron fence. They are also receiving help from initiatives such as Help to Buy. This means that developers require permission on more sites to meet this demand.
The problem with the planning system is that often sites can become stalled by delays in processing applications. There are around 150,000 sites that are at the stage of outline permission but have not yet received full approval. If these were pushed through the system, it would enable the developers involved to get to work on the construction process and increase the available housing stock. The report states that making the process quicker is an important factor in achieving this. It will require local and central government to put more of an emphasis on staffing these departments to avoid unnecessary delays impacting on people's ability to buy.
The planning figures for 2014 were the highest we have seen since 2008, and the trend is definitely moving up. However, there is still more that needs to be done to help increase the number of new homes that are built every year in this country.