Red tape biggest barrier to house building

Bureaucracy, lack of cooperation and a dwindling SME builders market are the main blockades to reaching the government’s ambitious housing targets according to panellists at an event held by BLP Insurance and the British Property Federation on July 3, 2018.

The seminar, chaired by Liz Peace, CBE and chair of the Old Oak and Park Royal, and with panellists Gareth Blacker, general manager Homes England, Rowland Thomas, director of Close Brothers Property Finance, Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation and Kate Davies, chief executive of Notting Hill Genesis, sought to address how the government intends to deliver on its target of 300,000 new homes per year.

In a wide-ranging and lively debate, in front of a packed room, the panellists discussed the major issues plaguing the housing industry and suggested how progress could be made.

Government intervention in housing, the critical role of the Build to Rent (BTR) sector, how to mobilise SME builders and the simplification of the planning system were among the hot topics deliberated. Ideas put forward by the panel to galvanise the housing sector included wholesale and meaningful reforms to the Compulsory Purchase System (CPO), additional government funding for housing associations, wider cooperation between all stakeholders in the UK housing market and more effective harnessing of the expertise present in the industry.

Kim Vernau, chief executive at BLP Insurance, said: “It’s vital to continue to debate the issues that affect the housing sector and its ability to deliver on government’s targets. This event provided the ideal opportunity to get the perspective from many sectors of the housing market, from financers to housing associations to government, on what is working well and what needs to be changed. The housing sector has to deliver, and all sectors must collaborate to address the critical blockages that remain in the process. Progress can only be made through frank and open-forum discussions like these.”