Officials assessing cause of problem

Planning delays still causing housing frustration

housebuildingScotland’s builders are finding it harder than ever to make a start on new sites because of continuing delays in getting planning approval, says the trade body.

Statistics reveal that, at 48.5 weeks, the time taken on planning decision times for major housing applications remains more than three times the statutory period of 16 weeks.

For the period July to September, the time has actually slowed by a day from the previous quarter.

The data follows a housing report showing that annual completion levels have effectively flatlined at an average of around 15,000 since 2010 – still some 40% below pre-recession levels – with a drop in the total number of homes being started.

Homes for Scotland director of planning Tammy Adams said: “With today’s figures showing no improvement, slow planning decisions, together with complications relating to conditions and developer contributions, continue to be one of the main blockers to the delivery of housing.

“We know Ministers are not happy with current performance and that Scottish Government officials are looking at the root causes of the delays.

“Whilst we hope that the planning review will refocus the system and prioritise the delivery of enough new, high-quality homes to meet housing need, the truth is that we just can’t wait for that.

“There is an urgent need to get decisions out in good time, both on planning applications and appeals. If this doesn’t happen, the all-tenure housing crisis will only get bigger and this will be to the detriment of communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is now consulting on increasing planning fees for major developments. Planning services clearly need to be properly resourced, but a fee hike will not be palatable unless there is a guarantee that performance will improve.”


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