Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments:
“The plans announced today by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick are comprehensive and far ranging – which may be the stimulus needed to throw off England’s housebuilding torpor.
“We particularly welcome the government’s decision to continue Esther McVey’s initiative for building a brownfield data bank. Maximising the space for development in urban areas is key if we are to prevent a two tier system of housing in this country where rural areas are oversupplied with affordable housing but with no buyers, and densely populated cities become housing deserts for those who want to buy somewhere affordable.
“However, effective data management protocols will be essential to underpin these brownfield registries, and this is where the Government could have done more to anticipate changes to the way we buy, sell, and build. After all, what is the point of creating a valuable resource if developers and property lawyers cannot access what they need when they need it?
“Compelling local authorities to expedite their planning processes could have some benefits but using 20th Century methods to accommodate a 21st Century population may well just produce more pressure in an already congested system. Instead, helping to centralise property data, digitalise the LLC system and increase automation will help reduce the time it takes to secure permission, better inform which land can be developed and speed up the rate at which they are sold. If we want to build for the future we can do better than the tools of the past.”