Delays mean work on 423,000 planned homes has yet to start

A lack of properties on the market means there are more people wanting to buy a home than there are available homes. Now new research by the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that an extraordinary 423,000 homes that have planning permission are still waiting to be built.

The total number of unimplemented planning permissions in England and Wales has risen from 365,146 in 2015-16 to 423,544 in 206-17.

The research by the LGA, which represents local authorities in England and Wales, also revealed that developers are taking longer to build new homes. From planning permission being granted to complete now takes on average 40 months, up eight months from four years ago.

‘Use it or lose it’ policy planned

The government has commissioned a review into “land banking”, the process by which developers sit on land that has planning permission waiting for its value to rise. The review is expected to recommend a new “use it or lose it” policy with time-limited planning permission put in place to force builders and developers to build on the land they have as soon as they are given the go-ahead.

The LGA wants councils to be given the power to act on incomplete schemes, including compulsory purchase of land where homes remain unbuilt and to charge developers full council tax for unbuilt developments once the original planning permission expires.

Councils want greater powers

Councillor Martin Tett, the LGA housing spokesman, said: “These figures prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact, the opposite is true. In the last year, councils and their communities granted twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that were completed.

“No-one can live in a planning permission. Councils need greater powers to act where housebuilding has stalled.”