Charlie Collins

Head of Planning South East, Savills

Charlie Collins specialises in strategic development, planning promotions and applications, green belt and CIL. His focus is on the housing sector.

Planning overview

If you take anything away from Charlie’s presentation, it will be that we need to plan more, and we need to evolve planning to be less rigid.

While we have around 700,000 plots in pre-planning and about the same at outline application in England, when we look through the detail of planning to actual permission, numbers are a lot lower. To deliver the levels of housing we need, we are going to have to unblock that log jam. The ready to go plots equal just over one-years supply. This is not enough.

In the South East we have constrained geography, high values and opportunity and congested infrastructure. Yet to enable housing needs, we need to convert about 1.4% of existing stock, each year, just to keep up with need.

Section 106 is only enabling a proportion of required affordable housing in a market where diversity of product is essential.

Strategic sites are an important part of the equation, but we must also bring forward the 5, 10, 50 sites – these are quicker and require less infrastructure. We know infrastructure is key and we need more of it – in the short term, planners will look at areas with key infrastructure improvements in the pipeline as key for development.

As the second strongest economic area in the country behind London, the South East has huge needs to accommodate new housing – we need to get on and plan.

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