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News - 30/10/2013

Government must do more to support residential development in the West Midlands

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New research from our residential development team has revealed that 45% of the West Midlands’ housing sector feels the government is not doing enough to support the delivery of new housing.

The LSH Residential Development Survey 2013 focused on identifying measures that could be implemented to increase housing supply, and looked at the views of the UK’s leading house builders, investors, developers, landowners, professional services and public sector bodies.

Deep-seated difficulties require a fundamental step change

45% of those surveyed identified planning policy as the biggest factor affecting the delivery of housing, followed by 43% who believed that development finance was the key issue. These results show that the difficulties faced by the residential sector are deep-seated and require a fundamental step change in the UK’s approach to housing delivery.

Government intervention is merely a short-term economic fix

45% of those surveyed felt that while the government’s direct housing market intervention measures, such as “Help to Buy” and “Get Britain Building”, have had a positive impact they can only be a short-term economic fix.

Steve Hemming, Regional Director of Planning and Development Consultancy at LSH, commented: “This survey has brought into sharp relief the scepticism that the sector has about the government’s ability to provide a long-term solution to the delivery of housing to support our growing population. While there are many factors in play, most views point towards a need for stronger guidance from the centre, and investment focused on creating a change at the heart of the system.”

PRS is starting to show signs of traction

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) is showing traction in London, the South East and the large regional centres, such as Birmingham and Manchester. Despite this, however, only 12% of respondents believed it capable of accommodating the anticipated growth of the housing market, without encouraging greater investor focus in the regions and weaker residential markets.

Localism is holding back viable developments

The Localism Bill was cited as another factor for stalled projects, with 43% agreeing that viable developments were being held back by objections lodged by local residents.

Steve continued: “The reality is that this is a crisis that has been building for well over 20 years and there is no single answer to solving it. Now is the time for a coherent strategy and review of our system, something that extends past party political boundaries and above short term populist policies.”

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