Latest Public Sector News


Planning decisions ‘distorted in favour of current homeowners’

The proportion of homeowners in an area can negatively impact housing planning decisions, according to research by the Institute for Government (IfG). 

Following the publication of the Lyons Housing Review last week, IfG tested the theory that planning decisions in England are being distorted in favour of current homeowners. 

Funded by The Economic and Social Research Council, the study – Housing That Works for All – found that when looking at the growth of housing stock in local planning authorities from 2001-2011, a 10 percentage point higher proportion of homeowners is associated with a 1.2 percentage point lower growth in the local housing stock. 

Evidence reviewed in the paper suggests that three features of the English planning system increase the risk of planning decisions being biased in favour of current homeowners, adding to supply constraints. 

These are: weak or absent city-wide/regional planning coordination; high fiscal centralisation/limited local fiscal autonomy; and ‘development control’ as the English planning system requires any change of land use to be subject to planning permission. 

IfG Fellow and co-author of the paper Miguel Coelho said: “A common accusation is that planning decisions tend to cater for the interests of current homeowners, rather than allow for a wider, more balanced set of interests. 

“New empirical evidence presented in this paper lend support to this hypothesis. Our analysis shows in particular that in the decade to 2011, housing stock grew significantly less in local authorities where there were higher proportions of owner-occupiers amongst local households. Credible proposals to reform the planning system should address this problem and ensure that planning decisions allow for the full breadth of interests affected by development.” 

Last week, the British Property Federation (BPF) billed the Lyons Housing Review as “sensible and comprehensive”, and has urged all political parties to undertake similar reviews, to ensure the delivery of new homes for communities in the future. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >