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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Concern over housing shortfall
By Hayley Millar
BBC Scotland business correspondent

Scotland could struggle to meet demand for an extra 10,000 new homes a year, according to an industry body.

Thousands of new homes will be needed every year
First Minister Jack McConnell recently told parliament that Scotland does not have a housing shortage.

But Homes for Scotland insists there is a shortfall and claims proposed changes to planning laws could jeopardise efforts to meet demand.

Consultation on a wider process for appeals against planning applications is due to get under way this week.

Homes for Scotland planning director, Allan Lundmark, said the move will hamper an already slow process.

We are a much more litigious society now and somebody, somewhere would wish to object
Ken Ross
Elphinstone Group
Mr Lundmark said: "In Scotland we are building somewhere between five and seven thousand houses a year less than we need, simply to meet growth in new household formation.

"If we carry on doing that for the next 10 years we would need to build a town the size of Paisley, simply to catch up with the backlog."

Meanwhile, local housing strategies have highlighted the need for another 5,000 affordable homes across the country, suggesting a shortfall of 10,000 homes a year.

The Scottish Executive is beginning consultation on changes to planning laws, including third party rights of appeal to object to new developments.

Affordable homes

But Ken Ross, chief executive of the Elphinstone Group construction firm, said he is concerned that the executive has still not rejected the idea of third party appeal, as has been done south of the border.

Mr Ross said: "We are a much more litigious society now and somebody, somewhere would wish to object.

"That will lead to uncertainty, additional cost and enormous delays in the system, something we don't need.

"It would add further to the difficulties of young couples being able to get homes that they can afford to buy."

In England, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott rejected the appeal process without any consultation.

The executive will make its decision on the issue in four months' time.

BBC Scotland's Haley Millar reports
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