“Housebuilder Persimmon has urged the Government to push ahead with simplifying the planning system as its order book for new homes continues to rise.
The company said in a trading update on Wednesday that, despite efforts to force local councils to identify sites for housing, “achieving detailed planning consent for the land identified is proving as challenging as ever”.
Under the National Planning Policy Framework, which was introduced by ministers in 2012, councils must draw up plans to build homes in their areas. However, it is estimated that almost half of councils are yet to publish a draft local plan.
Persimmon said it was “keen to work with all stakeholders taking part in the Government’s housing white paper consultation” in order to make sure that the planning process is simplified, which it says would result in more homes being built.
The white paper, which was published in February, sets out a raft of measures intended to stimulate the housing market.
Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, said: “A lot of good work has been done on the planning system but more progress needs to be made and that would hopefully be of benefit to the whole of the UK economy.”
He said that sales of homes had strengthened after the summer period, a traditionally quieter time for house purchases.
Persimmon said on Wednesday that trading in the past four months had been driven by attractive mortgage rates and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. It reported that it has around £909m of forward sales reserved beyond 2017, an increase of 10pc on the same point last year.
It added that sales rates had been flat on the prior year because of a surge in sales after the Brexit referendum, although they were 14pc up on the same period two years ago.
Shares in the firm were down 3.76pc to £27.66 on Wednesday, although the company remains one of the best performing stocks on the index. …”