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It has been just over a month since the Government published their much anticipated Housing White Paper, with reports suggesting that it was going to fundamentally change the planning system and housing market in this country.
Now that the industry has had chance to digest and consider the implications of the Paper, is there a consensus of opinion as to whether the latest Government announcement will make a substantial difference?
David Bailey, Lea Hough’s Planning and Development partner said: “The White Paper was expected to provide real impetus in relation to the delivery of housing, streamlining the planning system and broadening the types of development that are brought forward. Whilst the White Paper identifies some ways of achieving these aims, overall there remains a sense of disappointment within the industry, that the opportunity for change was not fully taken”.
Lea Hough act for a range of clients, including corporate and private landowners, Local Authorities and housing developers, providing site specific development advice on residential, commercial and mixed use sites.
“There will be more investment into planning authorities, which is aimed at increasing in-house resources and speeding up the decision making process. The industry, and our landowner clients, would welcome getting planning decisions more quickly, but there is a concern that permissions are only one part of a complex equation – there also needs to be well-funded developers capable of competing to buy the sites and implement those permissions”.
David added: “The White Paper recognises that having only a limited number of larger developers impacts on housing delivery, but it also has a knock-on effect on land values and therefore the appetite for landowners to bring land forward. As such, whilst the White Paper does not deliver everything it was hoped it might, the attempts to create a more vibrant and diverse developer market look to be a step in the right direction”.
The Homes & Communities Agency will play a key role not only in delivering public land, but also providing funding to smaller builders to assist on projects that might otherwise not come forward. Lea Hough & Co work closely with the HCA on a number of projects across the North West and believe that the availability of this funding “is hugely important for both landowners and developers, delivering stalled projects whilst also potentially bringing new buyers to the development market”.
Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors operate across the North West, providing specialist Planning and Development services aimed at maximising the potential of land and property assets.
The firm also have Chartered professionals providing valuation and building surveys, design and technical advice on property matters, as well as sales and lettings services, schools and academies project management and agricultural related advice.
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