Where we build is integral to the localism agenda - NFB
Ahead of rural planning week, George Freeman MP has stated that the five year land supply is undermining public trust, highlighting large scale development coming ahead of infrastructure investment as a major contributor.
The MP for Mid Norfolk said that ensuring we get a planning system that works for all is vital for our economy but also for our democracy.
The House Builders Association (HBA) – the house building division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) – agrees with George Freeman that the five year land supply needs addressing, but would encourage him to explore its wider impact on localism.
Even though the policy has made local planning authorities (LPA) more accountable for delivery, as well as open about how they have to go about meeting need. It has shed light on how LPAs understand and deliver the localism agenda.
As small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), members of the HBA embody localism. They typically employ skilled workers within 15 miles of their head offices, support the local supply chain, reinvest in their communities and win work based on reputation.
This allows them to do what they’re good at, building homes for local people on infill and smaller sites.
However, this has proved more difficult since the introduction of the five year land supply, which has predominantly focussed on meeting housing demand with large, out of town, sites.
The HBA understands that large sites are vital to meet community growth, but this should not diminish the value of small sites, which often fall within existing communities and facilitate organic growth and investment.
Sites not making it onto the five year land supply are often treated as windfall or less significant, with many SMEs citing a lack of impetus from planning departments to progress those applications.
A progressive LPA should instead be looking to speed up smaller developments to plan more adequately for larger ones.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “A progressive five year land supply does not only build homes that communities want, but sustains local business and attracts long term investment.
“Being focussed on where we build, who builds and why is integral to the short and long term localism agenda.”