Eight-year ‘time lag’ to start building homes on large sites

Large developments with more than 2,000 homes can up to eight years from submitting their first planning application to building their first house, according to a new study.

The study by planning consultants Lichfields, entitled Start to Finish, claims that developments with more than 2,000 homes take an average of eight years to get from the initial planning application to delivering homes.

And smaller developments of under 500 homes take an average of three years to start delivering houses.

The research also found a wide variation in average build rates, depending on the size of site.

According to the report, build rates range from an average of 22 homes built each year in sites of under 100 units, to 160 each year on sites over 2,000 homes.

The report that developments with more affordable housing tend to build-out faster, at close to twice the rate of those with low levels of affordable housing.

And schemes developed on greenfield land deliver more quickly than brownfield sites.

The question of how quickly and how much housing a site can begin delivering once it has planning permission or an allocation is significant because large-scale developments are an increasingly important component of local authority plans for housing,’ said Lichfields’ senior director, Matthew Spry.

‘Our recent research on garden communities found that local authorities often rely on such schemes to deliver a third or more of the housing they require.”

‘Only deliverable sites with a realistic prospect that housing will be built within five years can be included in a calculation of a five-year housing supply by a local authority,’ he added.

The report is based on an analysis of 97 sites over 500 dwellings of which 35 of the sites were earmarked for 2,000 homes or more.

The 97 sites equate to more than 195,000 dwellings.

‘A number of local plans have hit troubles because they over-estimated the yield from some of their proposed allocations, and in too many local plans and five year housing land supply cases, there is insufficient evidence to justify how large sites are treated in housing trajectories,’ added Mr Spry.

‘Our research seeks to fill the gap with some real-world benchmark figures, but this remains no substitute for evidence which considers the specifics of a given site and its approach to delivery.’

Photo Credit – Borevina (Pixabay)


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