1.1m homes with planning permission in England waiting to be built, says LGA

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More than 1.1 million homes granted planning permission in England in the past decade are yet to be built, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

It said 2,782,300 homes have been granted planning permission by councils since 2010/11, but over the same period there have been only 1,627,730 completions.

This leaves a gap of 1,154,570 homes, according to the LGA’s analysis of Government data.

The LGA is calling for councils to be given powers in a Planning Bill to incentivise developers to build housing more quickly.

It wants councils to be able to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point the original planning permission expires.

It should also be easier for councils to use compulsory purchase powers to acquire stalled housing sites or sites where developers do not build out to agreed timescales, the LGA said.

Polling for the LGA found that 80% of MPs and 88% of peers think councils should have more financial freedoms and powers to build new homes.

The LGA is calling for councils to be given the powers to kick-start a social housebuilding programme of 100,000 homes a year.

It said that while developers have been building more homes in recent years, this falls far short of a Government target to build 300,000 homes a year.

LGA housing spokesman David Renard said: “Councils are committed to working with Government and developers to build the housing the country needs.

“It is good the number of homes built each year is increasing. But by giving councils the right powers to incentivise developers to get building once planning permission has been granted, we can go further and faster.

“Councils are granting permission for hundreds of thousands of homes but families who desperately need housing cannot live in a planning permission.

“This is why we need the Queen’s Speech to deliver the reform needed to enable councils to tackle the housing crisis.”

Andrew Whitaker, planning director at the Home Builders Federation (HBF) said numerous independent reports have shown that builders do not sit on land unnecessarily.

He said: “Whilst housing supply has doubled in recent years, the planning process remains the biggest constraint on further increases.

“Many of the homes included in these numbers will have actually been completed or are on sites where construction work is ongoing. Others will only have an initial consent and be struggling their way through the treacle of the local authority planning departments to get to the point where builders are allowed start work.

“We would welcome a contribution by local authorities towards housing supply but, regardless of who builds the houses, evidence clearly shows that if we are to reach the 300,000 target many more permissions will need to be granted.

“It is vital that planning departments are sufficiently resourced and that applications are processed efficiently so that work can begin on sites more quickly.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statement said: “This Government is clear that new homes should be built out as soon as possible once planning permission is granted.

“Where sites are experiencing delays, it is for councils and developers to work closely together to overcome these barriers. We will be exploring further options to support faster build out as part of our proposed planning reforms.”

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