Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 7, 2016

Redrow Landbank 21,435 Plots

One of Britain’s leading housebuilders has attacked the planning system at local councils, calling the process “tortuous”, despite a third consecutive year of record profits and revenue. Redrow redrowmorg increased its land bank by more than 4,000 plots to 21,435, and its private order book was up 51 per cent to £655m.

Redrow criticised the “long-winded, under-resourced system” needed to build new homes in Britain, with Steve Morgan redmorghead its chairman, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “Planning has improved and the government has made some great steps over the last few years, but it is still like running through treacle. I feel sorry for planning officers because through cuts in recent years there are fewer of them, but there are so many rules and regulations that need to be crossed now. What we need is to be cutting red tape”.

Morgan said that it can take a further 18 months after getting planning permission for 500 new homes to “clear conditions and get details agreed before you can lay your first brick”. And John Tutte, the FTSE 250 company’s chief executive, said “It will never be a perfect system, but local authorities need new resources and the government is looking at how that might be achieved”.

Earlier this year the Redrow annual report showed new records in its first-half results after completing more homes and shifting its focus from central London to the outer commuter belt. Pre-tax profit was up 14 per cent to £104m, slightly exceeding analysts’ expectations, after completions rose 18 per cent to 2,178. The Flintshire-based company said it would double its interim dividend to 4p a share, and gave guidance that it would pay out 10p a share during the full financial year.

Operating margin was up to 18.2 per cent from 17 per cent in the six months to the end of December, in a sunny climate for housebuilders that included support from the Help to Buy programme, which issues government-backed loans to support homebuyers. Average selling prices for its private homes were up 2 per cent, which the company would have been higher were it not for “the shift of our London business away from high priced Central London apartments to concentrate more on the Outer London commuter market where demand remains strong”.

That move follows concerns over potential oversupply of upmarket London apartments, and a weakening of the high-end market in the capital thanks to additional stamp duty and less appetite among overseas buyers.

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