“The number of homes that have not been built despite receiving planning permission has soared in the last year, new figures reveal, meaning sites for hundreds of thousands of new properties are being left undeveloped.
More than 400,000 homes have been granted permission but are still waiting to be built, according to analysis published by the Local Government Association (LGA) – a rise of 16 per cent in the past year.
The data also shows developers are taking significantly longer to build homes than they were four years ago. It now takes an average of 40 months from planning permission for a property to be completed – eight months longer than in 2013-14.
The findings will probably raise questions over why developers are taking more than three years to complete homes, and in many cases failing to build them at all, at a time when the UK is building around 50,000 fewer properties per year than is needed to meet current demand.
In 2015-16, the number of homes in England and Wales that had received planning permission but not been built was
A year later that had risen to
Developers argue that a burdensome planning system stops them building properties more quickly, but the LGA said the new figures prove that delays are the fault of developers, not councils.
Councillor Martin Tett, the organisation’s 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 house building has stalled.”
Arguing that town halls need to be given greater freedom to borrow money to fund new homes, Mr Tett added: “Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. While private developers have a key role to play in solving our housing crisis, they cannot meet the 300,000 house-building target set by the Government on their own.
“We have no chance of housing supply meeting demand unless councils can get building again.”