Resistance within some local authorities to changes to the planning system is not helping to deliver the new housing that is needed, a Conservative MP has said.
Described by The Guardian as "the architect of the government's planning reforms", John Howell MP made the remarks at a Conservative conference fringe meeting, jointly hosted by the National Federation of Builders (NFB) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Mr Howell focussed on the need for a "culture change" within local authorities, towards planning.
He said local people need convincing that changes to the planning system do not mean business is going to run amok with the local environment.
"The National Planning Policy Framework set a balanced view of how you get this going", he said.
Yet Howell noted that at a local authority level, there is still a "resistance to the document" and a whole new way of planning.
"There is a resistance to the lack of control, as they would see it, that they have over planning in the area.
"There is a lack of willingness to share power with the neighbourhoods that are producing the neighbourhood plans which are defining where the houses will go", he said.
Refuting the claims, Councillor Gary Porter, leader of the LGA’s Conservative group, said that many local authorities have embraced the new planning system, despite the "miss-selling" of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) by government.
Porter proclaimed that it is not the planning regulation holding people back, but the lack of access to finance.
He urged for the next round of quantitative easing to be distributed through local authorities, to kick-start the housing market.
Pumping finance through local authorities, Porter observed, would ensure the money reached small and local businesses rather than sitting on the balance sheets of big banks.
Reiterating Howell’s call, Julia Evans, the chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, explained how SMEs are the "bedrock" of what the government is looking for as they invest and employ people in their local areas.
Of the opinion that construction has been overlooked as an industry by the coalition government, Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said it is a “vital part of the economy”.
He expressed concern that the current economic downturn will lead to a large number of skilled workers leaving the construction industry, leaving a massive skills and expertise void in the long-term.
"Where will the skills come from?" he asked.