Bow Group says flexible system based around neighbourhoods would deliver homes more efficiently than regional plans

The planning system in England is beleaguered with box ticking and target setting, and is failing in delivering homes needed at local level, according to a think tank.

The Bow Group is calling for a new, more flexible system based on neighbourhoods rather than on regional plans, according to the BBC.

The centre-right think tank said that the UK's planning system was slow and costing the economy around £2.7bn a year.

Regional plans enable local authorities to work out homes and transport for themselves, the government has said.

Planners' hands
The UK's sluggish planning system costs the economy around £2.7bn a year, said the report

But the report claims that the present system is top-down and does not deliver for communities, producing a massive oversupply of flats in some areas. Just 12% of new homes completed in 2007/8 in London were houses, it says.

The Bow Group's interview panel was told by a public planner: "What the government doesn't seem to realise is that while regional plans might set targets for housing, it's quite another thing to actually see a local community or a council accept those targets, particularly when a perception exists that they've been set centrally."

The report claims that the push for higher densities should not necessarily equal high-rise development.