In a new report on housing in England, the National Audit Office (NAO) states that the planning system in England is “not working well” and does not provide value for money in terms of delivering new homes effectively.

The Planning for New Homes report assesses how effectively the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) supports the planning regime to provide England with the right homes in the right places.

Available at, the report looks at how the MHCLG assists local authorities to produce plans for how the supply of new homes will meet the need in their area, and how it supports both them and the Planning Inspectorate in dealing with planning applications and appeals.

It also considers how effectively the MHCLG works with councils, government departments and developers to ensure that the infrastructure required to support new homes is planned and funded.

The NAO points out that the planning system is a key element in facilitating the ambition to build 300,000 new homes a year from the mid-2020s, along with the associated infrastructure.

However, it notes, issues such as reductions in local authority capability, an underperforming Planning Inspectorate, and systemic failures to ensure adequate contributions for infrastructure have combined to produce a planning system that is struggling.

For many years, the supply of new homes has failed to meet demand, NAO Comptroller and Auditor General, Amyas Morse, said.

“From the flawed method for assessing the number of homes required, to the failure to ensure developers contribute fairly for infrastructure, it is clear the planning system is not working well,” he went on, adding that the Government needs to take the issue much more seriously and ensure its new planning policies bring about the change that is needed.

Last reviewed 26 February 2019