A leading East Midlands housebuilder has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to rethink housing policy and provide assurances to the construction industry.
Fairgrove, a family-run developer established in 1995, has three active sites across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and has joined forces with over 200 SME housebuilders in signing a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, appealing for changes to be made to current planning policies, in order to protect the future of many smaller construction companies.
A group, including Fairgrove’s Managing Director Steve Midgley, presented the letter to 10 Downing Street, as part of a collective initiative from the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which coordinated the group.
The severe challenges faced by SME housebuilders over the last few years, between a global pandemic, inflationary measures and the impacts of skills shortages in the sector, has left many, like Steve, considering how to sustain their business’s growth in the face of such disruption.
Commenting on the current state of the industry, Steve said: “I truly can’t fathom how anyone can start in the industry nowadays, without substantial investor backing. The sector has changed so much in recent years, that it has made it a completely different landscape for all involved.
“By presenting this letter to 10 Downing Steet and the Prime Minister, we are hoping he will provide the construction industry and small-to-medium house builders with further support, to allow us to see a brighter future for us all.”
The movement aims to highlight what Steve sees as the deficiencies of the current planning process, along with the government’s proposed reforms to national planning policies, which include the reduction of local housing targets.
Steve added: “In addition to this, we are faced with what we deem to be the anti-development restrictions imposed by government organisations, like Natural England, and the burden of new taxes, regulations and policies.”
A recent HBF survey revealed 92% of SMEs are dissatisfied with the government’s current housing approach, and, more distressingly, that SMEs account for 85% fewer businesses when compared to a generation ago.
With developments in Kimberley in Nottingham, and Swanwick Fields in Derbyshire, Fairgrove are committed to building housing to meet the needs of the communities they operate in. But in order to do so, they, like many other SME housebuilders need a helping hand from the government.
Steve added: “Our message to the Prime Minister is this: the current and future policies are not good enough. The industry needs more help in order to get back on track – we’d advise you to consider a change in policy, before it is too late.”
For more information on Fairgrove, please visit: www.fairgrove.co.uk.