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New home planning permissions up 'but still not enough'

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New home planning permissions up 'but still not enough'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Local Government

House Building House Building

There were 33,881 approvals granted for new homes across England in the last quarter (Q3), up 36% on Q2's figure of 24,872.

The last quarter was also up 17% on the same period last year, when 29,059 approvals were granted.

However, the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which revealed the figures, warned that the number of new approvals is still well short of the 60,000 per quarter that is needed to meet demand.

The latest figures are the second set of quarterly results since April's introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The NPPF gives councils more power to decide what is built in their wards, and are required to assess local housing needs now and over the coming years and then allocate sufficient land to meet it.

The HBF says that while some councils are "abiding by the positive planning principles set out under the new system and developing robust housing plans" other are not.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: "The increase is good news and hopefully a reflection of the positive planning principles of the new system. It is just one quarterly increase and we are still well short of the number needed but we hope it starts a trend that will continue in 2013.

"The new system gives much more power to Local Authorities to take control over what is being built in their areas. This is necessarily underpinned by a robust appeals process where local authorities are not meeting the responsibilities they have to their communities. While we are hopefully seeing a turning point in planning permissions much more can be done - the policy announcements within The Growth and Infrastructure Bill coupled with measures to kickstart stalled sites and a real and concerted effort to reduce red tape are vital to continuing this important progress.

"Ministers have in the past year unveiled some very positive measures aimed at boosting housing supply, but they will only succeed if we have a truly pro-growth planning system."

Allan Wilén, Glenigan’s economics director, added: "Private sector projects provided the main impetus behind the rise in third quarter planning approvals, offsetting the weakness seen during the previous three months. In addition, there was a surprising rebound in social housing projects. If maintained, the increasing number of projects successfully securing planning approval will help developers to open up new sites and increase construction activity as market conditions progressively improve over the next two years."

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