Housing and planning: what makes the difference? A Smith Institute survey and discussion paper on the relationship between councils and house builders

Document type
Discussion paper
Heywood, Andrew
Smith Institute
Date of publication
1 July 2014
Housing and Homelessness
Social welfare
Material type

Download (768KB )

This discussion paper and survey is the latest in a series of Smith Institute reports on housing and growth. Its focus is on what can be done to boost housing supply, provide more affordable homes and create better places. This paper makes an important contribution to that debate, not least in highlighting the evolving relationships between councils and developers. As the report makes clear, getting that relationship right is critical to addressing the nation’s housing crisis. There is historical data available on planning applications and the performance of local planning authorities (LPAs), as well as plenty of technical guidance issued by the Planning Advisory Service and others. However, there is little academic research on the planning process and its outcomes, and even less on best practice and “what works”. This review and survey of councils and developers is intended to help address that information gap and provide some new insights into how individual LPAs and developers shape local housing markets. The paper does not claim to be an authoritative guide to the rights and wrongs of the council/developer relationship, but hopefully does capture the experience and opinions of those involved.

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