Developers and councils work hand in hand to tackle housing crisis

Developers, councillors and planners will come together at a joint industry event today, to explore how they can work together with communities to deliver high quality development that local communities need and that that can support economic recovery and growth.

The event will launch new industry guidance on partnership working, drawn up between developers, local government and planning experts, which stresses the importance of the pre-application process, and recommends the following:

  • Positive, proactive commitment from all participants
  • Timely, effective pre-application services proportionate to the scale and complexity of a proposed development
  • Selection of the level of pre-application service necessary to adequately deal with issued raised by the scale and complexity of the new development
  • Pre-application processes to be delivered in a timely manner and demonstrate good value for money
  • All parties to have processes in place to ensure that advice given and commitments made are carried through to application and permitting stages
  • The open exchange of information, to be considered prior to the submissions of a planning application
  • Collaborative working to find deliverable solutions which will necessitate that requirements of all parties are given consideration
  • Providing councillors with the opportunity to be actively involved in pre-application discussions as part of a transparent process
  • Early engagement between councils, developers and communities while local plans are being developed
  • An agreed record of information submitted, advice given and agreements reached during the pre-application process

Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“Timely, thoughtful engagement at the start of the planning process is much more likely to yield positive results for both local authorities and developers. By communicating clearly from the offset, all parties can identify, and solve, potential problem areas early on, and thus leave the path to full planning permission open. We would urge the property industry to adhere to the guidelines closely, in order to help deliver the homes and jobs that our communities so badly need.”

Planning Minister Nick Boles said:

“Having builders, councils and local residents all talking earlier in the planning process is the best way to deliver the new homes and jobs we need. Making sure that engagement with local communities is centre stage is the best way in helping get building underway more swiftly.”

Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said:

“The planning system is one of the best tools that we have to unlock economic growth and to deliver the homes and jobs that are needed in our towns and cities. Councils are already using their planning role to positively promote growth, approving nine in every ten applications, but are keen to do more.

“Making sure the planning system works as efficiently and effectively as possible needs developers, councils and local communities to create effective partnerships, and engage at an early stage in the planning process. That is why we are delighted to have worked with the industry to develop a shared approach to effective pre-application services and to share case studies of what can be achieved through partnership.”

The guidelines, which are accompanied by a book of case studies, were created and endorsed by the Local Government Association, the British Property Federation, the Home Builders Federation, the Royal Town and Planning Institute, the Planning Advisory Service, the Planning Officers Society, and London Councils, working closely with development sector representatives, local authorities, statutory consultees and the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The guidelines can be found here and here.

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