Fast track planning urgently needed, says FMB

Published:  18 February, 2016

Government proposals to offer a fast track planning process for house building are needed urgently, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “It’s very welcome news that the government has listened to the concerns of the industry over the sclerotic planning system. Across the country, SME house builders continue to be frustrated by a painfully slow planning process that is holding back the delivery of new homes.”

The FMB state that the numerous sources of delays and inefficiencies in the system impact upon house building rates, and act as a major deterrent to small developers who need to see speedy returns on their investments. Mr Berry proposes anything that encourages innovation, and incentivises councils to deal with applications with greater urgency, must be welcome.

Mr Berry said: “Developers of all sizes have consistently said that they would be willing to pay higher planning application fees, provided the extra resources were ring-fenced to deliver a better quality service. The proposals announced today by the Government provide an avenue to house builders to access speedier planning that will allow them to get on with what they do best – building homes.”

Mr Berry believes that in order to ensure that the broader planning system is working as it should, it’s essential that it is properly resourced. Local authorities need to be able to invest in their planning departments to put in place, and renew, their local plans. He suggests that fees, whether fast track or standard, need to be weighted to ensure that overall the system will be adequately resourced.

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