Delivering more homes through small sites!

It has come to light with new research revealing some of the barriers to developing small sites, whilst making a set of practical recommendations on how local authorities and SME builders can indeed work together to overcome these.

Current Findings:

  • 64% of builders and 45% of local authorities see under-resourcing of planning departments as a barrier to developing more small sites.
  • 87% of local authority respondents said that they did not think the Government would reach their housing targets with current resource levels.
  • More than half of councils deliver fewer than 40% of homes on small sites.
  • 79% of SME builders think that the planning application for small sites is ‘Heavy handed’.
  • 55% of local authority respondents said that the quality of planning applications for small sites is often poor.
  • 80% of SME builders said that local authorities in their area do not proactively communicate or engage with them.


  • Councils should improve their strategic engagement with SME house builders, including where possible by establishing developer forums, online portals and workshops.
  • Councils should seek to reduce complexity and uncertainty in the application process, through the use of coordinating codes and better engagement.
  • Government should give the councils the power to set and vary planning fees locally where extra revenue can be ring-fenced and good service levels adhered too.
  • Government should consider establishing a pilot ‘Small Sites Expert Task Force’ to develop best practice and act as a source of expert advice on small sites.
  • Councils should use their land assets creatively, including giving consideration to the use of direct commissioning, joint ventures and deferred payment models.
  • Councils should seek to Brokers, where feasible, and have relationships with small builders and private land owners.


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