One in three builders want the planning system reformed to help boost construction activity, said the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in its response to the government’s consultation on the Planning White Paper.
The FMB asked small to medium-sized (SME) house builders what was the one thing that the government could do to help them reach pre-coronavirus levels of activity and one in three singled out reform of the planning system.
This figure emerges against a background of a marked decline in the number of small house builders. In the 1980s 40% of all new homes were built by SME house builders but that figure has now fallen to just 12%.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The government cannot reach its target of building 300,000 new homes a year without reversing the decline in SME house builders.
“To help bring more SMEs into the housing market the planning system needs to be quicker and more efficient. The introduction of an Ofsted-style rating system for local authority planning departments would help assist this aim.”
He added: “Land availability is another key issue for SME house builders. There are far too few small sites available for local house builders who typically build just a handful of new homes each year.
“To help make more small sites available Homes England should be ensuring public land disposals provide a greater proportion of small parcels of land aimed at small housebuilders.”