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White Paper – Hopes for Houses

Suggestions that the planning process could be speeded up in the government’s pending Housing White Paper has been welcomed by Shropshire agent.

Head of sales at Balfours, Tim Main, says the White Paper, due this month, before the autumn budget, has been hailed as promising by the Rural Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS,) but more detail on delivery is needed.

Says Mr Main: “Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, is making all the right noises, but we desperately need progress. Despite the changes in planning and the house market over the last five years, the central message and Government thrust remains more houses and quickly.

Head of planning at Balfours, Justin Stevenson adds:  Key to swifter permissions is staff resource in planning departments, together with more streamlined permission around areas such as 106 agreements, which so often delay matters. Furthermore a development can be given outline planning permission for 50 houses, but are only able to build say 37 due to reserved matters.”

Government figures show that to June 2016 the planning system approved 277,000 new homes; at end of March 2016 11,147 of which were in Shropshire Council’s. However there were less than 1402 completions in the county during the same period.

Mr Main adds that throughout Shropshire there is a lack of residential property coming to the market – and a contributory factor must be the deficit of new build: “As always this is a geographical problem with the South East suffering the most,” he adds. 

The agents endorse RICS: “It isn’t just the planning, the whole process, developers, building materials and builders are all currently under resourced; the housing White Paper will, we hope, provide all round incentives,” says Mr Stevenson.


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