A million homes ‘not yet built’

New analysis by the LGA has found that more than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built.

Latest government figures show that 2,564,600 units have been granted planning permission by councils since 2009/10, but only 1,530,680 have been completed.

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes has almost doubled since 2012/13, with councils approving nine in 10 applications. While, in some cases, there will be a time lag between permission being granted and homes being built, new-build completions have only increased by half as much in that time.

Councils recognise the shortage of housing and the need to build more homes, but the backlog of unbuilt homes shows the planning system is not a barrier to house building, says the LGA. It is calling for the forthcoming Planning White Paper to give councils powers to take action on unbuilt land which has planning permission.

This includes making it easier to compulsory purchase land where homes remain unbuilt, and to be able to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Housing Spokesman, said: “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 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.

“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.”

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