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RTPI highlights policy uncertainty and under-resourcing in response to CMA Housebuilding Market study

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) today issued a response following the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) final report on the housebuilding market in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Having directly engaged with the CMA's investigation, the RTPI welcomes acknowledgments of the insufficient resourcing of the planning system as a significant barrier to development.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: "Our members operate within the framework established by the Central and Devolved Governments, adhering to the policies and regulations set forth. However, one thing they all have in common is that there can be no doubt that the planning profession is being held back by increased policy uncertainty, making it harder for planners, developers and investors to create, and deliver, effective long-term plans, whilst staying abreast of the constantly evolving policy arena.

“The report underscores the under-resourcing of many planning departments citing the extensive reporting and research from the RTPI as evidence. We have consistently advocated for increased resources in the planning system. When appropriately resourced, planning is an enabler, not a blocker to unlocking the economic, environmental, and societal gains of the country.

“It’s encouraging to see statutory consultees included in the report, which we have previously noted should be a top priority for Government. Statutory Consultees are required to participate in various planning processes, but are also often working under resource constraints which can postpone their input and create unwelcome delays. We hope that Sam Richards’ Rapid Review to accelerate UK infrastructure development will help resolve this issue.

“We’re pleased to see CMA recognise that the picture varies across the UK nations, which are currently undergoing different stages of planning reform. Furthermore, it’s positive to see calls for additional support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), which were outlined in Oliver Letwin's review in England. These models, if implemented by government, could significantly benefit the small and medium-sized housebuilders."

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