CAD Divider

Inaugural Planning Portal Market Index reveals a million homes left unbuilt

Jul 4, 2024

By Laura Potts, MRTPI, Planning Consultant, CAD Architects

Have you received planning permission for a project but not yet gone ahead with it? If so, you are not alone. The inaugural Planning Portal Market index has been published at the end of June 2024 and it reveals some startling insights. It shows that Since 2015, over a million homes granted planning permission in England and Wales have been left unbuilt.

This is around a third of houses granted planning permission in the last decade that have not realised their plans and have been left unbuilt. This is a concerning finding and it suggests that, despite the government focus on planning reform. the planning system is not the only obstacle to new house building. In fact, If all of the homes in England and Wales granted planning permission over the same period completed their works, the government target of 300,000 new homes built per year would have been achieved for eight years.

Planning Portal is operated by TerraQuest, whose chief executive Geoff Keal commented: “These figures suggest that the near-exclusive focus on the planning system in the political debate around housing is misplaced. Until recently, planning permission was being granted for enough new homes to meet the government’s targets. While the planning system is by no means perfect, this data strongly suggests that policymakers need to look more widely at the factors stifling the completion of homes for which planning permission has been granted.”

As a leading architecture firm in Cornwall, CAD Architects are concerned to understand the factors that are holding back developers who receive planning permission for their projects and then do not proceed with their plans. We are especially keen to provide assistance to anyone in this position and help them overcome any barriers they face, making the development process as simple and cost-effective as possible, to realise their plans.

In Cornwall, we have also seen a slowdown in the number of completions, mirroring the situation highlighted by the Planning Portal Market Index. The Cornwall Monitoring Report (Cornwall 5 Year Housing Land Supply Statement) was published on 1st June 2024. It includes a table of completions between 2010 and 2024 and the last year 2023/2024 highlights 2,527 completions, which is the lowest number since 2013/2014.

Our view is that barriers to completion are likely to include high interest rates and general building costs.

As Geoff Keel said: “High interest rates have a double impact on the completion of new homes. By dampening the housing market in the short term, they limit the potential commercial rewards available to housebuilders for proceeding with projects. At the same time, the high cost of borrowing to finance projects in the first place pushes up costs and eats into developer profits. This is compounded by the well-publicised challenges facing the construction sector in overcoming skills shortages that have left its headcount more than a quarter of million short of the number needed to meet projected demand. Meanwhile, the supply of fundamental construction supplies of bricks and blocks are down by 4.3% and 9.8% over the year to April 2024, according to official statistics.

The skills gap in the UK construction industry is also widening. We need government backing for robust training programmes and apprenticeships to address skills shortages and deliver the skills needed in construction into the future.

The above are only a topline snapshot of the kind of issues that may be holding back the surprisingly high number of developers and householders who have received planning permission but not gone ahead with their plans.

If you are in this position and would like assistance to unlock your plans and get your project completed, then talk to us at CAD Architects. We understand the issues you face and can offer you solutions for cost-effective and efficient completion of your project.
Our expert planning consultancy will help you navigate any further planning complexity and our talented team of architects will deliver your project, on time and on budget.

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