Small is beautiful: New FMB housing report launched
As the Government announced the first of the new garden villages, a new report ‘Small is beautiful: Delivering more homes through small sites’ published by FMB looks at ways smaller scale developments can contribute to the demand for new homes.
Gary Lewis, National President of the FMB said: "...many of the small developers still in operation face significant barriers to their ability to grow and build more homes. Prime among these barriers are the relatively limited opportunities to develop small sites in many areas of the country."
He went on to say, "My hope is that this report can help play a key role in the forging of a new partnership between small builders and local authorities and that together we can help to solve the housing crisis".
The report looks at some of the barriers to enabling small scale development and how these might be overcome. It draws together evidence from surveys of local authorities and SME builders, roundtable discussions involving both parties and a series of interviews with planning officers.
What the Housing Report uncovered
Among other findings, the surveys found that:
- 64% of builders and 45% of local authorities see under-resourcing of planning departments as a barrier to developing more small sites
- 87% of local authority respondents said that they did not think the Government would reach its housing targets with current resourcing levels
- More than half of councils deliver fewer than 40% of homes on small sites
- 79% of SME builders think the planning application for small sites is ‘too heavy-handed’
- 55% of local authority respondents said that the quality of planning applications for small sites is often poor
- 80% of SME builders said that local authorities in their area do not proactively communicate or engage with them.
Recommendations for improvement
Key areas identified for improvement are allocation and use of land, resourcing and capacity, the planning application process, and engagement between the industry and local authorities.
The report makes 10 key recommendations, including:
- Councils should improve their strategic engagement with SME house builders, including where possible by establishing developer forums, online portals and workshops
- Councils should seek to reduce complexity and uncertainty in the application process, through the use of coordinating codes, and better early engagement
- Central Government should give councils the power to set and vary planning fees locally where extra revenue can be ring-fenced and good service levels guaranteed
- Central Government should consider establishing a pilot 'Small Sites Expert Task Force' to develop best practice and act as a source of expert advice on small sites.
Submitted 2 years ago
The smaller less resourced Builder has no chance.
Submitted 2 years ago
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