Announcements made by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP yesterday, as part of the publication of the National Infrastructure Plan, place housing at the heart of the government’s long-term plan, and shows a welcome emphasis on the importance of small sites for housing delivery, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Given the scale of the housing crisis we face, I’m encouraged to see housing considered alongside long-term infrastructure planning. It is more pleasing still that housing delivery is being viewed in a much more comprehensive way than we have seen before. As well as announcements on major developments, like a new garden town at Bicester, determination to speed up planning and releasing more public land, there is an equal focus on the importance of small developments in meeting long-term housing needs.”
Mr Berry continued: “Government, at a central and local authority level, can fall into the trap of being excessively focused on large projects, at the risk of ignoring the enormous cumulative capacity of small sites to deliver new housing. One of the major barriers which small house builders face in bringing forward small developments is the disproportionate cost and complexity which the planning process tends to inflict on minor applications.
“The publication of data which will ensure greater transparency around processing times for minor development applications is an important step in maintaining focus on smaller sites. A commitment to looking at how to better support the approval of more small sites is also an extremely welcome statement and we look forward to engaging with government on this issue. If the government continues to take this comprehensive approach to delivering new housing, we stand a good chance of starting to meet the demand for new homes.”