Small housing developers bemoan ‘hit or miss’ approach to planning approvals
A study by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that its members regularly use phrases like “lottery” and “hit or miss” to describe the development management process, while concerns were also raised over a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the application process.
The findings form part of UK-wide research produced by the FMB and the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) which reveals some of the barriers to developing small sites and makes a set of practical recommendations on how local authorities and SME builders can work together to overcome these.
Among other findings, the surveys found that:
The Scottish Government recently published the findings of a survey of small developers in Scotland which suggest that access to finance remains the severest barrier to growth, but it also picks up concerns about planning, and some concerns over land availability, though less so in more rural areas.
The report further notes that respondents recognise value in engaging more openly with local government; a common theme that has emerged in the course of the FMB’s research.
The FMB said: “Analysis of evidence to the Scottish Government’s ongoing review of planning also highlights concern over insufficient allocation of smaller sites. If there is a desire to boost the small scale house building sector in Scotland, then working out how to address this, and how to reduce the uncertainty of bringing small, non-allocated sites forward, would be a productive focus for further work by the Scottish Government and Scottish local government.”