More than a million homes unbuilt despite planning approval amid housing crisis


More than a million homes granted planning permission are still waiting to be built despite the chronic housing crisis, a report reveals today.

Just 1,627,730 homes have been built in England in the last decade, according to the Local Government Association.

But another 1,154,570 granted planning permission by town halls are yet to be created.

The LGA wants councils to be given powers in a Planning Bill in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech to incentivise developers to build accommodation more quickly.

Its housing spokesman David Renard said: “Councils are granting permission for hundreds of thousands of homes but families who desperately need housing cannot live in a planning permission.



While more homes are being built, hundreds of thousands more have got planning permission

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

A total of 2,782,300 homes have been granted planning permission by councils since 2010/11, but only 1,627,730 have been built over the same period, analysis shows.

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes has more than doubled since 2010, with nine in 10 planning applications being approved by councils, according to the LGA.

It wants an overhaul of legislation to include powers for councils to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point the original planning permission expires – giving housebuilders an incentive to finish properties.

The LGA also wants it to become easier for councils to use compulsory purchase powers to buy stalled sites where developers do not meet deadlines for building.

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Developers have been building more homes in recent years, with completions hitting 220,600 in 2019/20 – their highest level in a decade.

But is is far short of the Conservatives’ pledge to build 300,000 homes a year.



The Conservatives have promised to build 300,000 homes a year

Mr Renard added: “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.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: We have a chronic shortage of decent, genuinely affordable housing in this country – the social homes we need just aren’t getting built.



Polly Neate said there are too few good social homes
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter

“With over a million households stuck on waiting lists, it’s deeply frustrating to see so many plots with permission sitting empty.

“The idea that trouble getting planning permission is causing our housing crisis is a myth and it will take more than tinkering with planning to turn the situation around.

“If the Government wants to meet its own targets and get more homes built then it needs to invest.

“A new generation of social housing could solve the housing emergency for good.”

Shadow Housing Minister Mike Amesbury said: “This data shows that the planning system isn’t the reason that new homes aren’t being built at all: it’s because developers aren’t building out on planning permission they already have.

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Shadow Housing Minister Mike Amesbury

“The Conservatives are giving developers more control over planning, gagging communities so local people lose the right to object, for bogus reasons.

Labour will firmly oppose the Conservatives’ planning reforms that seek to pay back their developer donors by selling out communities.”

A Housing Ministry spokesman 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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