Homes for Scotland (HFS), the sector body representing the country’s house builders, has responded to a call for ideas on the design of the desire system requested by new design reform champion Craig McLaren.
With the system playing a major role in the delivery of many homes of all tenures needed, but under great strain from resource issues and the additional burdens imposed by the National Framework 4 (NPF4), HFS took the opportunity. ask questions such as:
- What results do the planning system need to have an impact?
- What does the highest operating system of authority do?
- How do we measure this?
In its submission, HFS highlights the Scottish Government’s “Housing to 2040” vision which says “we need more homes than ever before” and the NPF4’s Quality Homes plan, which aims to “encourage, promote and facilitate the delivery of high quality, affordable and sustainable houses”.
It also notes the “unacceptable” timing of planning decisions for home builders of all sizes, highlighting the impact this has had on the delivery of new homes through increased costs and the opening of new housing.
Key issues raised by the HFS include:
- Sharp fee increases in recent years have not resulted in any change in performance
- Difficulty in contacting leaders following an increase in flexible working, with email largely the only mode of communication
In addition to this, HFS notes the need for a simpler approach for SME home builders that recognizes their own challenges and works with them rather than against them.
HFS chief executive, Jane Wood, said: “We are grateful to Craig for raising these issues and allowing us to share our feelings, particularly in the context of the three local authorities’ already declared housing crisis.
“The scheme is fundamental to Scotland’s social and economic prosperity as well as supporting the transition to net zero. What we need now is renewed confidence to encourage more investment in housing and bring more places to new homes.
“We fully recognize the impact of our councils on the authority of colleagues and are committed to playing our part in a system that is adequately supported and has the information it needs to meet Scotland’s diverse housing needs and aspirations.”