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Tue, 31 March 2020

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More than a million homes not built in past 10 years despite having planning permission, new research reveals

More than a million homes not built in past 10 years despite having planning permission, new research reveals
2 min read

More than a million homes were not built in the past decade despite planning permission for them being granted, new research has revealed.


The Local Government Association (LGA) said the grim findings showed councils need more powers to commandeer land which is not being used.

According to reserach commissioned by the LGA, of 2,564,600 properties given planning permission since 2009/10, just 1,530,630 have been completed.

The figures come ahead of an upcoming Government white paper on reforms to the planning system, with the LGA pressing for it to hand more powers to councils to act when new builds are being stalled.

Councillor David Renard, the LGA's housing spokesman, said: “The planning system is not a barrier to house building. The number of homes granted planning permission has far outpaced the number of homes being built.

”No-one can live in a planning permission, or a half-built house where work on a site has begun but not been completed.

“Councils need powers to tackle our housing backlog and step in where a site with planning permission lies dormant and house building has stalled.”

Measures such as charging developers full council tax on each unbuilt property from when planning permission expires, or making it easier to compulsorily purchase land, have been recommended by the group. 

Cllr Renard added: “If we are to solve our housing shortage, councils need to be able to get building again and resume their role as major builders of affordable homes. 

“It is also vital that the planning process is protected, so that councils and communities can ensure we realise the Government’s ambition of building beautiful homes, which includes the necessary infrastructure and affordable housing.”

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: "These figures give lie to the Government’s claim that council planning departments are the problem in getting more new homes built.

"Since 2010, Conservative Tory ministers have loosened planning rules to give big developers a freer hand but they’re still not building the homes the country needs. After ten years of Tory failure on housing, the case for change is clear and the Government should give councils tough ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ controls over land with planning permission and stronger powers to require mixed developments to meet local housing needs.

"Labour would also back councils to build at scale again, as part of a plan to build a million genuinely affordable homes.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.

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