Council planning departments should be treated as front line services and protected from local authority spending cuts, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Commenting on the recommendations of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Committee is right to stress the importance of maintaining adequate levels of investment in planning departments. Although councils are under a great deal of financial pressure, with more cuts to come, there are some areas which must be prioritised over others and planning is one of them. Our country is in the midst of a crippling housing crisis and if we are ever to start building enough new homes, we need planning departments to be sufficiently resourced to ensure these homes can be built.”
Berry concluded: “I am also pleased that the Committee recognises that although the NPPF is not perfect, it merely requires some adjustment and not a complete overhaul. The last thing we need is for next government to embark on another major review of the planning system as the one we currently have is broadly speaking working fairly well. Another major planning review could act as a barrier to small house builders at the very time government wants them to increase their delivery of new homes. As the Committee points out, it’s still early days for the NPPF but what’s clear is the positive impact a simplified planning system can have.”
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the UK’s largest trade association in the building industry, with national offices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.