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Spitfire Homes granted planning permission for more than 300 Midlands homes

Midlands-based homebuilder Spitfire Homes has secured planning permission for 351 homes across the Midlands.

Leading the plans is a 280-home scheme in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, along with a further 61 properties located at a former Sandvik HQ in Halesowen, Dudley, and a collection of 30 new homes in the Worcestershire village of Crowle (pictured).

Ben Leather, managing director at Spitfire Homes, says the process of securing planning permission has been an extremely difficult and drawn-out process.

He said: “As an SME housebuilder we experience significant struggles with the current planning system on a daily basis – something that is felt throughout the industry.

“Reserved Matters permission for one of these developments took almost 12 months to secure, despite being an allocated site in the Local Plan with Outline Permission already in place, and no objections from any statutory consultees.

“Another development on a brownfield site was challenged by unjustified design and highways requests, whilst staffing changes within the planning department further slowed the process which took over a year.

“These are just some recent examples of how the current system prevents housebuilders from delivering homes that are needed in strategic locations within acceptable timeframes.”

Housing Secretary Micheal Gove plans to unblock the planning system and enable the building of more homes in the right places where there is local consent.

Developers will be asked to contribute more through fees, to help support a higher-quality, more efficient planning service, but Leather doesn’t think the changes go far enough to provide a deliverable mix of homes, of all tenures, to solve England’s housing crisis.

He added: “We support the principle of paying higher planning fees if it means Local Planning Authorities spend those additional fees on increasing the resources within their teams and it isn’t diverted to other Council departments.

“With increases in interest rates, the cost for SME housebuilders to put sites on hold whilst waiting for planning approvals can be crippling for small businesses, so this change is absolutely essential to promote the future success of these businesses and ensure their continued contribution to the economy.

“The recent Save Our SMEs campaign championed by the HBF further demonstrated the sentiment from housebuilders similar to Spitfire Homes, with 166 businesses signing the open letter to government in response to recent policy amendments which remove the requirement for mandatory local housing targets, further throttling the amount of planning permissions granted for new homes.

“It’s vital housing targets are reinstated and are not reliant on conversion of commercial and agricultural buildings to provide more homes as advocated by Gove.

“Increasing the quality and level of resource within the planning system is a significant step forward in the delivery of much-needed new homes.”