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Chancellor's brownfield plans a boost to small builders

Government moves to simplify brownfield development as a key plank of their plans to get Britain building will be a boost for small builders, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Chief executive Brian Berry said there is overwhelming support for the development of small, previously-used sites in existing towns and cities, where demand for housing is highest.

He said small and medium-sized house builders are best-placed to deliver these typically smaller sites, which form the bulk of the country’s re-usable land.

The FMB welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to prioritise simplified planning routes for brownfield, alongside the establishment of the National Infrastructure Commission.

Mr Berry added: “Bringing forward planning applications on these sites can be an expensive and risky business for small firms. This is particularly the case on the smallest sites, where the disproportionate complexities of obtaining planning permission act as a real disincentive to building.

“If planning laws can be streamlined, this will give smaller builders the confidence to develop the thousands of sites that would otherwise be lying empty. These sites are desirable, sustainable and attractive to local communities and home buyers alike.”

If the Chancellor’s “urban planning revolution” is to succeed, however, FMB says it will need to be underpinned by some targeted financial support.

Making brownfield sites fit for use can be complicated and expensive. Funding targeted at the more problematic locations could help make the government’s brownfield ambitions, including the delivery of starter homes, a reality.

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