Housing shortage blamed on planning delays

Efforts to increase the supply of new housing in Scotland are being held back by delays in the planning process, according to industry research.

Efforts to increase the supply of new housing in Scotland are reportedly being held back by delays in the planning process. Picture: PA

Almost half of those surveyed from across the sector said the length of time taken to secure planning approval was the biggest hurdle, while a fifth cited funding for infrastructure as their main concern.

The study of 120 senior figures, representing builders, contractors, architects, advisers and investors was carried out by law firm Brodies, which highlighted the need for greater collaboration to tackle housing shortages.

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Two years ago, Audit Scotland published a report in which is said the number of households north of the Border was forecast to rise by 500,000 to 2.9 million by 2035, and 21,230 additional homes would be needed each year to cope with demand.

The Scottish Government set a goal in 2007 to raise the rate of new housing supply to 35,000 to improve affordability, but recent official figures show just 15,541 homes were built in 2014.

Tracy Menzies, joint head of Brodies’ housebuilding team, said: “The industry is hugely important to our economy, providing vital infrastructure, creating jobs and stimulating investment. It is imperative that we listen to those in the sector, address concerns about the current system and devise new ways to tackle the shortage of new homes.”

Nicola Barclay, director of planning at trade body Homes for Scotland, added: “We note with interest that delays in getting planning consents and constraints surrounding infrastructure delivery are given as being the two primary barriers to the building of much-needed homes as this very much mirrors what our members are telling us. We are already working closely with the Scottish Government on both of these matters.”