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Lloyds: 'Planning and skills shortages holding back housebuilding'

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Skills shortages – including among architects – and planning delays are among the biggest challenges facing the housebuilding sector, according to a survey by Lloyds Bank

The report released today (21 September) was commissioned by the bank in the wake of its decision in July to dedicate £50 million, match funded by government, to boost small and medium housebuilders.

The report found pessimism on skills, with 31 per cent of those surveyed saying they were finding it difficult to recruit architects.

Alasdair Gardner, head of housebuilders at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, told the Architects’ Journal: ‘While the pace of housebuilding is increasing, there a demand for quality skills, including in architecture.

‘Some practices may have downsized during the recession and the time taken to qualify as an architect means it may take time to replenish the supply. Hopefully the report can provide confidence for others that are still wary of the housebuilding sector.’

Planning came out top of the barriers listed by housebuilders to increasing housing output, with 46% of respondents saying the system was too slow.

Gardner said: ‘Planning is a long standing problem. From our perspective we welcome some of the proposals recently announced by the government, such as automatic planning permission being granted on disused industrial sites. We would like to see more focus on this type of solution to deliver the level of housing we need.’

When asked what one change housebuilders would advocate for the alleviation of the housing shortage, 23 per cent said greater local authority support to promote and fund building projects, while the same figure sought additional support from central government.

Stamp duty reform and the government’s Help to Buy equity scheme were flagged by 73 per cent and 63 per cent respectively as having a positive impact on alleviating the housing crisis.

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