NuGen Properties

Report highlights planning permission burdens

Research by planning and development consultancy Lichfields has found that the time taken for SMEs to achieve an outline planning permission has increased from around 13 or 14 weeks in the 1990s to a whole year in 2023.

It also found that the costs have also risen substantially, with a typical planning permission costing £12,000 (£28,000 in today’s money) in the 1990s, compared to the £125,000 it costs today to gather the evidence required for outline permissions. That is nearly 4.5 times the 1990s cost in real terms.

In 1988, SME housebuilders delivered 39% of all homes built in England, but this fell to just 10% of annual housing completions in 2020.

The report, Small builders, big burdens, was commissioned by the Land, Planning & Development Federation (LPDF) and United Trust Bank (UTB).

LPDF chairman Paul Brocklehurst said: “SME housebuilders are the lifeblood of our industry but they are finding it harder and harder to deliver the homes that this country so desperately needs. This new research shows how we have gone backwards over the last thirty years in terms of the time and the money it takes SMEs to get planning permission. No wonder they’re collapsing in number. Without action from the government to help SME housebuilders and a more proportionate approach I fear we will only see further decline.”

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