The recently announced Office of Fair Trading study into the UK housebuilding industry highlights two areas of concern: land supply and planning.
However, I believe these issues should not be regarded in isolation, and our focus should be on how new models could be employed to address them.
I believe the boundaries around existing towns should be reviewed, taking a modern look at settlement patterns. There is land in public sector ownership that can be brought forward for development, but it is often sold too soon – and to the highest bidder. The Housing Forum has called for a central body for public sector land sales that is able to return the uplift on price betterment to both developers and land holders.
In addition to this, the Housing Forum is looking at ways in which developers, registered social landlords and other bodies can collaborate to deliver quality homes quickly, and at how standard type approval and self-certification can also be employed to speed up the planning process.
It is only if we stop thinking about issues such as land supply and planning in isolation, and adopt a truly pan-industry approach, that we can realistically start to think about workable solutions.
Shelagh Grant, chief executive, the Housing Forum