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LONDON-Wilson Bowden, the publicly quoted house builder, hit out at British planning authorities for ‘tiresome, unnecessary and expensive delays.’ David Wilson, chairman of the Leicester-based company, made particular reference to inner city and industrial sites which he said had not been given planning priority despite the Government’s insistence that ‘brownfield’ sites were to play a primary role in its regeneration programme.

Wilson said that he was unaware of any recent moves to accelerate the planning process and added, ‘If they are serious, I am heartened but all I know is that delays are frustrating and not ideal.’ Despite the delay in getting new homes onto the market, Wilson Bowden announced that it had sold 1,809 units in the six months to June, a jump of 8.1% on the same time last year. Fears of a slowdown in the housing market were dismissed: ‘I don’t think that price rises are unsustainable. They may slow down a bit but it doesn’t really concern us provided there is a little bit of an increase to cover increases in building costs,’ said Wilson.

The house builder posted a 14% rise in both interim profits and sales to £59 million and £351 million respectively and is seen by analysts as a steady operator in the business, unlikely to be a target for hostile takeovers. The interim dividend was lifted by 0.5p to 5.5p.

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