Speaking at the Housing Market Intelligence conference HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said the ‘complete and utter nonsense’ of the anti development lobby must be ignored or a generation of people will be denied access to the housing market.
As the consultation into the National Planning and Policy Framework (NPPF) continues. anti-development campaigners have been calling for the final NPPF to delay implementation of the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ until local authorities have a suitable housing plan in place.
But Baseley dismisses the suggestion, pointing out that local authorities have had since 2004 to put plans in place yet in all that time less that a third have managed to do so.
Stewart Baseley said: “To delay implementing the NPPF until Local Authorities do have a plan in place would leave us in a planning policy vacuum. It will prolong the limbo that has existed since the 2010 General Election with the old system dead but yet to be replaced. The result in too many places would be a continued failure to plan for growth or address the housing crisis in their areas”
Baseley also criticised calls for a ‘brownfield first’ policy in which previously developed land has to be used for house building ahead of any other.
“A brownfield first policy makes no distinction between derelict, contaminated, regenerated or recreational land and what’s more, removes power from local people to decide on the future of their area. The NPPF approach is actually more sensibly focused and flexible and should result in better protection for land valued by a community.”
Last year saw just 103,000 homes built in England, the lowest peace time number since 1923, against a need for 250,000; whilst planning permissions for homes that will be built over the coming years have collapsed to around half of where they should be.