Anthony Aitken, Head of Planning at Colliers International commented: “It seems rather ironic that housebuilders were criticised in the NPPF announcement for not building enough homes and were asked to ‘do their duty’ to achieve this aim. This does not strike me as the means to motivate the housebuilders to address this crisis – it seems to be more a case of direct criticism without understanding the wider factors. The consultative NPPF could have suggested that the green belt, as a land use, needs to be reviewed nationally, as its founding reasons in 1947, need to be reassessed to meet societies modern needs, namely ‘housing our population’.

“In order for us to push forward, there should be greater resource for local authorities to complete local plan reviews timeously. Suggested penalties via the removal of local plan powers for authorities who do not produce timeous local plans has been long heralded, but until enacted, this remains ‘all talk and no action.

“The reasons for planning permission not being implemented timeously to deliver new homes are a combination of lengthy legal agreements often taking years to conclude or pre-commencement conditions being so extensive, it again takes years to work through these to get on site. The Letwin Review will comment on this matter later this week.

“The government has clearly failed to ‘do its duty’ in providing clear guidance on how 300,000 houses per annum are to be delivered in England, with green belt policy unaltered, no new resource for the public sector to advance local plans or determine applications, encouragement of neighbourhood plans which seek to thwart residential development and no penalties for local authorities who fail to plan. Each provide barriers to quick development for housebuilders to progress sites and build more homes. The consultation on the NPPF was clearly a missed opportunity!”