Ipswich: Planning process is ‘destroying’ construction industry

BUILDERS in Suffolk are being held back by lengthy planning processes which is “systematicaly destroying” the industry, they say.

Ten building experts, based in and around Ipswich, met with local MP Ben Gummer this week and outlined the problems plaguing the industry.

They said planning was one of the biggest issues facing the construction industry in the region today. The long drawn-out planning process caused delays which resulted in cash flow and recruitment issues, which in turn restrict growth, they complained. They called for an easier, quicker planning process with fewer obstacles to encourage business and strengthen employment opportunities.

Speaking at a business lunch, hosted by Barnes Construction, builders complained of having to wait up to two years for planning consent, and said while timescales were strict once planning permission is applied for, there was no time constraint on the pre-planning process.

They called for a quicker easier system with a specific, shorter deadline within a week.

Other key issues discussed included the re-development of Ipswich town centre and the Waterfront, the very complicated and costly procurement process for local government projects, tax implications for small and medium-sized businesses and restrictive employment legislation which makes recruitment and redundancy difficult.

Mr Gummer said: “This was an important and very informative meeting for me. The construction industry is vital to the growth of our town and our country’s economy. We must do all we can to help it succeed. I have already passed on their concerns to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and will continue to press for reductions in employment taxes and over-regulation.”