The public say local councils are failing them on affordable housing

Council-level planning processes are failing to adequately assist in addressing the nation’s ongoing shortage of affordable housing options, according to members of the public

A survey commissioned by Searchland, a development site sourcing firm, has revealed that nine in 10 (88%) people think their council’s process lacks both efficiency and timely completion.

What is more, three quarters (76%) think the local council planning application and approval processes are both difficult to understand and lack transparency.

A further two thirds (67%) go on to say that local communities are given inadequate opportunity to provide input or make their views heard.

Mitchell Fasanya, co-founder and chief executive of Searchland, said: “There is no ambiguity in these survey results. When asked for their opinion, the people of the UK have been damning of the lame planning processes that should have been improved and modernised a long time ago.

“One can’t, however, place all of the blame with the councils alone; many of them do gallant work with insufficient resources.

“But today there are resources and tools outside of the bureaucracy of the public sector that can help people source and analyse land plots and planning history to be as prepared as possible for commencing the council planning application and approval process. This preparation can help the process be completed more efficiently and at greater speed.”

As a result of these various perceived flaws, the UK public also has little faith in the council planning process to address the biggest issues facing the nation’s housing market today.

In fact, 90% of people bemoan the fact that the planning process is failing to address, let alone improve, the national shortage of affordable housing options.

As for why the planning process continues to be so flawed, the majority of people believe that the bureaucracy within local councils is the driving factor, followed by the fact local councils are under-resourced and due to a lack of expertise within the council.

The protracted paperwork processes that planning departments insist on adhering to and a lack of process transparency also ranked as contributing factors.