Our property experts are urging developers to take advantage of ‘the dawn of a golden age in planning’ by progressing residential developments over the next 18 months.
Clarion property partner James Lawson explains: “A combination of factors has come together to make this an opportune time for developers to push ahead with plans for residential schemes. In March 2012, we saw the National Planning Policy Framework sweep away thousands of pages of detailed and prescriptive planning guidance to be replaced with broader principles, including a presumption in favour of development.
“This policy shift has been driven by a need for new homes as well as a desire to kick start economic recovery. It coincides with positive signs of improvements in the housing market, helped by various Government incentives encouraging the return of both homebuyers and lenders. The Government’s introduction of the Help to Buy Initiative should help to stimulate demand and give further momentum to the housing market. Crucially it provides more options for purchasers to fund that much needed deposit.
“Already, we are seeing more planning permissions coming through with figures published by the Home Builders Federations showing a 36 per cent increase in approvals for new homes in the last quarter of 2012* although it is estimated that this level is only half what is needed. We believe that developers should make the most of the more supportive environment for residential planning ahead of the next General Election.”
Tim Waring a director at Indigo Planning further underlines this point commenting: “The impact of the planning changes for residential developers are now being seen at local level with a greater proportion of residential planning applications being successful. Whilst there will always be tensions between national policy and local sensitivities, we are now seeing a clear trend in favour of residential schemes. Where a local authority is unable to demonstrate a credible five year housing supply, the case for sustainable residential development schemes can be very strong.”
These issues were discussed at a recent seminar hosted by Clarion with guest speakers Tim Waring and leading planning counsel, Paul Tucker QC, and attended by more than 40 guests from the property industry.
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*HBF Housing Pipeline report, 17 Dec