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PR 23 - New RTPI report offers evidence to tackle the myths about land supply and house prices

13 June 2007

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is set to launch an informative report at the start of their Annual Planning Convention on Thursday 14 June 2007. The report, 'Opening up the Debate: Exploring housing land supply myths', tackles issues of affordability and supply head on. Key new figures in the report show that house builders have banks of land with planning permission close to 14,000 acres, enough for 225,000 new homes. The report goes on to provide evidence on the relationship between land supply and house prices.

The report forms part of the RTPI's evidence to the Callcutt Review of Housebuilding Delivery. Key evidence from the report includes the following chart recording the likely figures of land with planning permission related to the top ten house builders in England:
Rank     Company (by size)     UK Plots with Planning Permission     UK Completions     Year's supply
1     Taylor Wimpey     57,063     22,000     2.6
2     Barratt/Wilson Bowden     37,229     19,808     1.9
3     Persimmon     41,711     16,701     2.5
4     Bellway     22,600     7,117     3.2
5     Berkeley     19,860     3,001     6.6
6     Redrow     16,850     4,735     3.6
7     Miller Group     12,500     3,960     3.2
8     Bovis Homes     12,395     3,123     4.0
9     Galliford Try     4,115     3,000     1.4
10     Crest Nicholson     Unclear     2,946     ?



Kelvin MacDonald, RTPI Director of Policy and Research and joint author of the report said: \"House builders and others need to stop blaming the planning system as the sole factor in restricting land supply. If we are to tackle the afordable housing crisis we need to move away from overly-simplistic views of demand and supply and look as well at the other factors that contribute to the crisis. This report provides solid evidence to kick off a much needed intelligent debate.\"

The report makes five recommendations:

    House builders should declare the amount of land they currently control with planning permission in each local authority area in a transparent and consistent way so that this figure can be used in the Annual Monitoring Report that forms part of the local development framework system. These can then be aggregated to form a regional data bank. It becomes very difficult to plan for future allocations of land or to understand the dynamics of the housing market in relation to land availability without such information.
    The new National Housing and Planning Advice unit should publish, on a regularly updated basis:
    The amount of land held with planning permission broken down by local authority area and by developer
    The amount of land held in strategic land banks broken down by local authority area and by developer
    Number of houses completed in each year broken down by local authority area and by developer.
    The RTPI will be looking to the Callcutt review to provide evidence to properly understand the blockages to housing delivery. In the interim, it is not helpful if any of the parties to this debate – whether they be house builders, the Government, business or environmental lobbies, issue partial and potentially misleading statements about the simple need for more land release. In doing so they can engender a culture of blame for the planning system and planners which merely stultifies wider debates about solutions.
    Given that planning permission only lasts for three years, the Government should work closely with house builders and others to identify the blocks that exist within the industry and externally that could lead to those developers with a supply of land with permission much in excess of three years, not being able to achieve the potential of that land if permission lapses.
    The Government, working with stakeholders, must review a range of different models to address the house building crisis, which will not improve under the status quo, including the need for a publicly funded house building programme to provide more and genuinely affordable homes.

Latest Government figures show over the past 12 months starts have declined by six per cent to 173,400 while completions have increased by just three per cent to 167,700. Updated Government predictions show 223,000 new households will be formed per year between 2004 – 2026.

For further information please contact:

Andrew Kliman, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479, mob. 07870 672 020

Kelvin MacDonald, RTPI Director of Policy and Research, 0207 929 9474,

Notes to Editors
1. The full report can be found here

2. Latest house building figures can be found at:

3. Government figures on household estimates can be found at:

4. To book a free press place at the RTPI's Planning Convention please contact Andrew Kliman on the details above.

Further information on the Convention can be found at

5. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. The RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners
worldwide, with over 20,000 members.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865