Members of our Regenerate business leaders panel answer this question in their maiden voyage online
Today we take Regenerate’s business leaders panel online. The panel is our informal think-tank of leading players in local authorities, housebuilders, housing associations and regeneration agencies. They will regularly share their opinions, knowledge and experience with us.
Here are their answers to this week's question.
Anu Vedi, group chief executive Genesis Housing Group, said:Can developers meet the needs of the growth areas as well as building the eco towns? “No”
Will housing associations, housebuilders and others in regeneration be too stretched to meet the demands of both initiatives? “Yes. The ‘credit crunch’ will bite for the foreseeable future and all parties are having to revisit their respective business models such that new investment is now much lower in the pecking order. Most people cannot yet see the light at end of the tunnel given the macro risks as well the sector issues like grant rates, rent regulation, availability of mortgages and so on.
Alan Cherry, chairman, Countryside Properties said:"I don't see this as a problem for developers - the planning process is now so slow that whatever we get planning permission for should be deliverable. Delays in the planning process is the biggest drag on development. We can't build anything anywhere without planning permission, whether in the growth areas or elsewhere. Speed up the planning process and we might then have a delivery problem - that would be nice."
Stephen Teagle, Galliford Try said:"Yes, we have the capacity but the approach of public sector commissioners- and in particular the HCA - will be essential in providing the private sector with the confidence to invest. The fundamental supply deficit driving housing growth remains but assembling the optimum private:public solution has never been more important in delivering supply-led regeneration. Encouraging the market by helping retain sector capacity, incentivising private investment and offering a realistic balance of risk and reward are the key. We will also need realism in understanding what drives customer choice and delivers quality solutions."
The nature of public sector encouragement is even more important as we look over the horizon and plan for future delivery. There is plenty we can do now in anticipation of a better market. Get it right and there is no doubt the sector has the capacity; get it wrong and the ambition for quality new communities will remain an unrealised vision."
What do you think? Put your answers to the questions in the forum.