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Planning and Development Land

Planning delays and flat land prices - what comes next? Peter Hemple reports

The majority of planning applications for residential development are currently being delayed by six months or more owing to a lack of funding, according to Linea Homes. The developer also said that a lack of resources within planning departments is one of the biggest reasons for a severe shortage of affordable housing in the UK.

As many as 9 out of 10 applications are delayed by 6 months or more owing to a shortage of staff and inefficient processes within local planning departments, the firm added.

In 2005, the Barker Review of Housing Supply stated that 250,000 homes should be built in the UK every year to address the shortage of affordable homes. However, housebuilding levels have failed to meet that target year-on-year owing to severe delays with planning applications that could be avoided.

Gavin Sherman, co-owner of Linea Homes, says: "We are not alone in experiencing severe delays with our planning applications that are complete with professional reports and are policy compliant. Local authorities are so under resourced that they simply can't acknowledge and administer the number of applications they are receiving. Some officers only work two days a week, which makes it impossible for them to deal with the workload they are given."

Sherman continues: "The shortage of affordable housing in this country is a major issue that continues to escalate and will not go away by itself. We urge Government to provide more funding for qualified personnel and IT in planning departments so that applications are processed more efficiently and we as an industry can keep on building homes."

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