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HBF increases planning department

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has added to its planning department in order to ensure local authorities across the UK are fulfilling their responsibilities for house building under the new National Planning Policy Framework.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley stated: "This new capacity will enable the industry to be represented at all future Local Plan Inquiries, and ensure we are challenging Local Authorities that are not making adequate provision for their housing need. With power comes responsibility and we want to ensure responsibilities are being met."

According to examinations carried out by the HBF to date, its research has shown some local authorities are failing to carry out objective assessments of their present and future housing needs.

Furthermore, some planning decisions are being affected by subjective considerations and policy assumptions, with the recession or environmental/heritage constraints being cited by many councils for their failure to deliver new properties.

It is clear that the construction of more new homes is required across the country in order to tackle the ongoing housing crisis, with figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government recently showing a downturn in new development starts in 2012.

According to the government's data, a ten per cent fall in new builds took place last year, with present construction rates now standing at less than two-fifths the amount required to meet the growing demand for new homes.

Overall, just 98,280 registered starts were recorded in 2012.

Chief economist for architect and development body the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Simon Rubinsohn commented: "These figures demonstrate the scale of the problem facing the country in delivering sufficient homes to accommodate a rising population."

The HBF is therefore keen to ensure local authority planning is taking this key requirement into consideration and officials are doing all they can to meet this demand. 

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