Jason Lowes, partner in the planning team at Rapleys, commented:
“Much of the government’s narrative to-date, including around the NPPF reforms, suggests they see two key, in some respects contradictory, issues inhibiting housing delivery. On the one hand, ‘nimby’ local councils withholding permission, and, on the other, developers holding onto land that has permission.
“However, taken at face value today’s statistics show that new build completions increased 17% in Q4 2017 compared to the previous year – so things seem to be moving in the right direction, and it strongly suggests that developers are not holding back from delivering housing. Hopefully the Letwin review will help further demonstrate this, and the conversation will move on.
“At the same time, the reported downturn for planning approvals on commercial developments in 2017, compared to 2016, is a key issue to watch. While housing undeniably needs to continue to be a priority for central and local government, it is critical that commercial development is not cut out of the conversation, with the risk being that land uses that can have a dramatic impact on local employment and service provision are ignored.”