More than 400,000 homes with planning permission waiting to be built

Research released by the Local Government Association has shown that more than 423,000 homes have been granted planning permission in the UK, but are yet to be built. This backlog has grown by nearly 16% in the last year.

The research which was commission by the LGA and carried out by Gleniston also showed that developers are taking longer to build homes with projects now taking 40 months from the time planning permission is granted until completion. This is 8 months longer than 2013/14.

The figures show that there is a backlog of 423,000 unbuilt homes with planning permission this year compared to 365,000 during the previous year.

The LGA point out that planning permission is no barrier to construction as nine out of ten planning applications are approved and that 321,000 new homes were granted planning during the last year. However, this analysis shows that councils need more powers to act on planning applications that are not followed through.

These powers might include making it easier for councils to purchase land where homes have not been built or charging developers full council tax on undeveloped land from the point that planning permission expires.

Martin Tett, the LGA Housing spokesperson has pointed out that people cannot live in a planning permission and that the homes need to be built. He also points out that councils need the freedom to borrow and invest in new homes as private developers cannot meet the housing target of 300,000 homes that has been set by the government. Tett says that there is no chance of meeting this target unless councils can start building again.

In last year’s budget, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, set out plans to review the practice of land banking where developers sit on land and wait for its value to increase. Developers deny that this is the case and that they believe that speeding up the planning process would allow them to move more quickly.

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