LPDF calls for help from planners to halt house sales slump

Searls Land are proud affiliate members of the Land Promoters & Developers Federation (LPDF) – and we back its call for an urgent reaction to halt a dramatic slump in the sales of new homes.

The LPDF commissioned a report by estate agent Savills which highlighted a declining trend in the number of planning consents, a situation that has worsened in recent years. It came out just a week after the LPDF claimed the number of new homes built each year in England could slump to its lowest level since World War Two amid unfavourable government policies and higher mortgage rates.

The report states: “The issue of low sales rates is compounded by the trend towards an ever-diminishing supply of available sales outlets. A restrictive planning system will exacerbate this issue, with fewer sites expected to gain consent over the coming years. Lower sales rates, fewer sales outlets and the reduction in active parties delivering new homes will mean a substantial reduction in new home delivery.”

It asks for planning authorities to recognise the issue. Also to bring forward more housing development sites that allow housebuilders to open more outlets.

Recommendations of the Savills report

1. Local planning authorities (LPAs) need to recognise changed market conditions

2. The planning system should actively promote diversity in the delivery of new homes

3. The planning system should actively create opportunities for SMEs and new entrants  

Searls Managing Partner Tim Searl said: “The three recommendations made in the Savills report are all valid and achievable. However, if these recommendations are to be achieved, a significant change in the public’s mindset is required.

“The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states achieving sustainable development means that the planning system has three overarching objectives – economic, social and environmental. Although these are not criteria against which every decision can or should be judged. The NPPF also states that ‘at the heart of the Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development.’

“From my viewpoint, more focus is awarded to environmental issues over economic and social benefits of new developments. LPAs and committee members appear more concerned about appeasing noisy voters than adhering to their obligation to identify suitable and sustainable locations, for new homes to be built.

“All people deserve the security of a home but unfortunately the selfish agendas of some, build barriers against this sentiment.”

You can read the full 31-page report here.

You can find out more about the LPDF and its work here.