Housebuilder says it has started intensive training programme to benefit from planning upheaval

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has started a “significant” internal re-training exercise to help its land teams meet the challenge of “localist” changes to the planning system, it said today.

In a city trading statement Taylor Wimpey said it was continuing to engage with “government and with local authorities” as the Localism Bill progresses through parliament, and was rolling out new internal processes to cope with the planned changes, which include the abolition of regional housing targets.

The localism bill also envisages neighbourhoods writing their own plans, and councils given financial incentives to allow more homes to be built. The statement said: “We have commenced a significant programme of internal training and are rolling out a framework of processes to position our business to benefit from the opportunities that the proposed new planning system will provide.”

The firm said it was selling homes slightly behind the rate at the same time last year, albeit it with more sites open. It has secured 79% of its full year target, compared to 83% last year, and said it expected an improvement on last year’s 6.7% margin.

It expects to complete 4,550 homes in the first half, down 5.3% from last year, at an average price of £170k.

The firm also announced it has appointed Almacantar chief executive Mike Hussey as a non-executive director. Hussey is a former board director at Land Securities.

Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey group chief executive, said: “I am very pleased with our ongoing performance improvement in the UK and we have made good progress towards completing the sale of our North American operations. We are well positioned to deliver further margin improvement in the UK, beyond our double digit operating margin target for 2012, through the development of our extensive strategic land portfolio.”