Fast-track housing plans in bid to boost construction

New plans by the government are hoped to boost the fortunes of the construction industry, largely by removing planning obstacles to fast-track housing developments.

The measure will allow developers to refer their applications to the Planning Inspectorate. In cases of local authorities being slow in processing applications, threatening the project’s viability, they are likely to be fast-tracked.

Other measures announced see legislation introduced to guarantee £10bn worth of new home projects and £40bn of major infrastructure projects.

Speaking about the package, David Cameron said it shows the seriousness of government to get the economy in shape. The Prime Minister went on to say:

“[It] means more investment around the county; more jobs for our people; and more young families able to realise their dreams and get on the housing ladder.”

The announcement received support from CBI director-general John Cridland who said:

“Making planning cheaper, quicker and easier will unblock stalled housing developments and provide a fillip to business confidence.”

However, he stressed it was important that details were confirmed urgently.

There was also a lukewarm greeting from the National Federation of Builders, though chief executive Julia Evans also said:

“The planning system needs a root and branch reform.”

The Association for Consultancy & Engineering also described the plans as “promising” but suggested progress would be slow and could potentially not prove to be cost effective.

Construction union Ucatt went further, saying the housing crisis could be worsened, resulting in fewer affordable houses being built.

From laying the foundations and industrial concrete floors to topping out, many firms in the industry will hope this is not true, with the plans helping revive their fortunes.

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