Planning delay and the responsiveness of English housing supply
Ball, M. (2011) Planning delay and the responsiveness of English housing supply. Urban Studies, 48 (2). pp. 349-362. ISSN 1360-063X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1177/0042098010363499
There is growing international interest in the impact of regulatory controls on the supply of housing. Most research focuses on the supply impacts of prescribed limits on land use but housing supply may also be affected by the process of planning monitoring and approval but this is hard to measure in detail. The UK has a particularly restrictive planning regime and a detailed and uncertain process of development control linked to it, but does offer the opportunity of detailed site-based investigation of planning delay. This paper presents the findings of empirical research on the time taken to gain planning permission for selected recent major housing projects in southern England. The scale of delay found was far greater than is indicated by average official data measuring the extent to which local authorities meet planning delay targets. Hedonic modelling indicated that there is considerable variation in the time it takes local authorities to process planning applications. Housing association developments are processed more quickly than those of large developers and small sites appear to be particularly time-intensive. These results suggest that delays in development control may be a significant contributory factor to the low responsiveness of UK housing supply to upturns in market activity.