Countrywide: there’s no shame in being pro growth if it will help the housing market


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grenville Turner, Chief Executive of Countrywide, the UK's largest property services Group questions whether the National Planning Policy Framework announced today will work in isolation:

"The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) recognises that planning is the cornerstone of the housing market's recovery.  There is no shame in being pro growth when the country is in the grip of a housing crisis. We certainly support aspects of the NPPF but our note of caution is that it will not work in isolation. More needs to be done through viable consensus to address the chronic issues hindering the property market, and the wider economy's recovery.

"We believe that the issues facing the UK housing market are threefold and concern mortgage finance, viability and supply."

An exclusive YouGov survey commissioned by Countrywide this month to look at the UK housing market found that[i]:

Grenville continued: "NPPF is a policy document driven by supply issues and concerns around the speed of planning. However, to truly revive new build volumes and resolve the housing crisis, the Government must implement 'special measures' to strong arm lenders and local authorities into action.

"We have called for mortgage lending targets akin to the SME market and short-term measures to make planning permissions attractive and viable for land owners and developers alike."

Implementation risks and stealth tax

Grenville added: "Our major concern is how NPPF will be implemented on a local level. For as long as Local Authorities set their own targets, there is a risk that there will be a conflict of interest.  

"Furthermore, with the forthcoming Community Infrastructure Levy tariffs[3] yet to be set by all Local Authorities, we're concerned that new 'stealth planning taxes' will prevent viable developments, not through speed of planning under NPPF but by implementing new cost barriers."


[1] Source: HBF

[2] Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) - click here for definition

[i]Survey Note: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 6215 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th - 19th March 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


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