Small sites: Unlocking housing delivery

Insight

Small sites: Unlocking housing delivery

23 Sep 2020
There has been much speculation as to why the role small developers and small sites has declined over the last decade but to date there has been no detailed site level analysis which seeks to understand the causes.
Lichfields, in conjunction with small sites specialist Pocket Living, has undertaken research into why small urban sites are not playing a more meaningful role in the delivery of new homes and affordable housing. The analysis considers the timeframes for determining planning applications on small sites and the planning issues and challenges they encounter. The London-based analysis enables lessons to be drawn for future housing development on small sites more widely. This is especially pertinent as the Government enact planning reforms to increase housing delivery and consider how development can help the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The research focuses on the planning journey of developments of between 10 and 150 homes on urban sites smaller than 0.25 hectares. It is based on a sample of 60 planning permissions approved across London in the three years to 1 April 2020 drawn from the Greater London Authority’s London Development Database. This equates to over 2,666 homes with planning permission and constitutes 10% of the planning permissions on small sites in the capital during this period that meet our assessment criteria.
The analysis identifies the timeframes for determination of planning applications on small sites and the constraints and delays these applications are encountering. The aim is to shine a light on this important area of the development sector to help unlock the housing potential offered by small sites and SME developers.

Image credit: Pocket Living