A North East planning expert is calling on the new Prime Minister to provide stability across the planning system as he prepares for government.
Stephen Litherland, a director with Teesside-based Hedley Planning Services, wants to see Mr Johnson act quickly and resist more changes to an already ‘overstretched and under-resourced’ planning system.
His comments come in the light of a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, which warned MPs that the Government needs to tackle “inherent problems at the heart of the planning system” to have any hope of reaching its ambitious goal of building 300,000 homes a year.
The report claimed the Department for Housing does not have the mechanisms in place to achieve the target and urged ministers to set out their plans to boost building rates by October.
The number of new homes built has recovered from a dramatic slump following the financial crisis to 222,000 in 2018, but the 10-year average has languished at 177,000.
Stability provided by the new administration is ‘desperately’ needed to prevent further delay, procrastination and uncertainty in the local planning process, says Stephen Litherland.
He wants to see any new housing ministry team dedicate more resource to local authority planning departments, so that the pace of the production of local plans and decisions over applications can be quickly stepped up.
“It’s hard to gauge what the new PM believes in, or what plans he has to address our chronic housing crisis. Broad bush policies may be all well and good, but it’s the detail that counts, and it’s hard to see anything at the moment to that specifically addresses planning concerns.
“Despite all the uncertainties, house building continues to be a busy sector and we want to encourage more smaller builders to enter the market in 2019. To achieve this it is vital that an effective and stable planning system is in place to facilitate this.”