UK Public Has Little Trust In Local Council And Private Developers

Only 7% of the UK population trust local councils to make decisions in the best interests of the local area they are entrusted to protect and grow.

Following a survey of over 2,100 nationally represented members of the UK public, collated by property managing and development specialists Grosvenor, also found fewer than 2% trust private developers to act honestly.

Overall, the report highlighted the public perception of a broken housing system being held back even further by a fragmented and under performing planning system.

A recent Channel 4 Dispatches ‘Britain’s New Build Scandal’ highlighted the flaws in the new build sector by showcasing some of the poor quality homes being built by Persimmon. New owners were frequently left with a long list of planning flaws, varying from minor issues with kitchen doors stemming through to serious leaks, fire safety issues and critical building regulation errors.

Contributors also claimed that Persimmon’s heavy handed and aggressive approach in forcing completions, sometimes without allowing the buyer to view the finished product before completing the purchase emphasised the lack of care epitomising the current system. It is therefore unsurprising that the public has an inherent mistrust of developers.

Similarly, inconsistencies in the pre-application process of planning, subjective planning officers and constant delays in the entire planning process can lead to a slow and arduous process, despite the Government’s desire to build more new homes.

In total over a third (36%) of respondents had a deep mistrust of local councils and almost half (49%) had an ingrained distrust of developers. Those with experience of the planning system and had shared their views during the planning process were more inclined to perceive the system negatively.

66% of people who had shared their views with the council on a local project and 62% of people who had attended a consultation meeting about a specific project held negative memories regarding their experience in the planning process.

The drivers of distrust indicate that both councils and developers are viewed as money grabbing and selfish in their motivations concerning new build developments. 75% of respondents viewed developers and almost half (49%) of councils as only caring about making and saving money.

A huge amount of people also accused both stakeholders in the new build process as failing to fully understand what the local area need. Over half (54%) viewed developers as failing to care about the needs of an area before throwing up a development; 43% claimed local councils also held an uncaring attitude towards local need.

Overwhelmingly, the public are looking for greater accountability for developers (74%) and councils (72%) who fail to consider the public when approving new build developments.

It was suggested that the public should be offered greater influence over the results of large-scale developments that are likely to massively impact their local area.

The report conclusions suggest nothing short of greater transparency, consistency and accountability will improve the pathetic perception of such important stakeholders in the new build sector.

Are local councils and developers unfairly viewed with distrust? How could the planning system improve?

Today's Conveyancer