Developers sitting on land ready for thousands of new homes

Tens of thousands of homes are not being built in England because property developers are holding off on starting new building projects.

Planning laws were relaxed last year to encourage more house-building.

And councils across England granted planning permission for a total of 382,997 homes last year, 75 percent of all applications.

However, to date, only 195,294 of those homes have been completed.

Gap between planning permission and construction

The housing charity Shelter looked at the gap between planning approvals and completion rates, revealing that the gap between the two is widening year on year.

In 2017, the Government set a target of building 300,000 new homes every year in England by the 2020s.

But Shelter has noted that, in the last 30 years, there has never been more than 200,000 homes built annually in England.

No rise in completed homes

Shelter’s Eleni Stratton wrote on the charity’s blog: “Given we have twice the number of planning permissions as six years ago, we might expect a similar rise in the number of houses being built.

“But new-build completions have only increased by half as much. And the gap between permissions granted and homes built is growing wider every year.”

The Home Builders Federation told The Times that councils still take too long to make decisions on developments because of a combination of weak political leadership and not enough staff in housing departments.

Better system needed

Shelter is now campaigning for more social housing to be built with housing associations and councils joining forces to provide affordable housing alongside new developments of private properties.

Greg Beales, Shelter’s campaign director, said: “We need a better system, beginning with a commitment from government to a new generation of social housebuilding.”