Home builders call for planning system improvement as new stats reveal 46% drop in applications for major housing developments

27/07/2023

NEW planning application statistics have been described as “shocking” by sector body Homes for Scotland (HFS).  The figures, published today, reveal a staggering 46 per cent drop in the volume of applications for major housing developments for 2022/23 compared to 2019/20.  Despite this significant drop in the volume of applications, average decision times remain above pre-Covid levels at 39.3 weeks, nearly two and a half times the 16 week statutory timeframe for such applications.

The number of local housing development applications has also fallen by 12 per cent whilst processing times have risen nearly 40 per cent compared to 2019/20 and now stand at 17.2 weeks (more than double the eight week statutory timeframe).  This has particular impact on SME home builders and rural housing.

HFS Director of Planning Liz Hamilton said:

“In the context of Scotland’s housing crisis and the shortfall of 114,000 new homes that has accumulated since 2008, these shocking figures illustrate how much worse the situation is becoming.

“Scotland simply cannot afford, either socially or economically, to let this continue but issues with the new National Planning Framework 4 point to such an outcome.

“The Scottish Government must get Scotland’s planning system sorted if we are to ensure this and future generations are able to access safe and sustainable homes that meet their needs and they can afford.

“This requires significant investment in and resourcing of planning services.  We also need a system that balances the housing crisis equally with those of climate and nature.  We want to continue to work with Ministers and officials to achieve this, particularly in relation to filling any data gaps that exist so that policy decision-making is pragmatic and evidence-based.”

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