Builders hit out at bureaucratic house planning

HOUSEBUILDER Redrow dismissed debate that government mortgage schemes were fuelling a housing boom and said the UK’s “bureaucratic mess” of a planning system was the main cause of the housing shortage.

The government has been criticised by economists and industry players for its launch of the Help to Buy scheme in March, the first part of which provides equity loans to help Britons buy homes with small deposits.

“I’ve seen some pretty silly things written in the last week or two and stated by certain politicians,” chief executive Steve Morgan said yesterday, declining to name any in particular.

“The real issue is not whether Help to Buy is fuelling a new boom, the real issue is that we’re not building enough houses, and we’re not building enough houses because we’ve got an antiquated planning system.”

Redrow reported a 65 per cent jump in full year profit yesterday, reinstating its full year dividend of £0.01 per share, crediting Help to Buy with a contribution to forward sales.

Morgan said the planning process had to be further streamlined, and give councils time limits on making decisions.

“We had one site in the north west, we built several hundred houses a few years ago and had 9 conditions, he said.

“We just had a site on the opposite side of the road recommended for approval with 103 conditions. They just take such a long time to clear these conditions before you can start.”