The BMF has issued a response to the analysis from the Local Government Association that more than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built.
John Newcomb, Chief Executive, Builders Merchants’ Federation, said: “The Local Government Association’s findings are part of a long-running debate over whether (or not) housebuilders and property developers are land-banking on a significant scale.
“It is understandable why the LGA wants the Government to grant their members the power to take action on unused planning permission. Their main proposal is to make it easier to use compulsory purchase powers on land where much-needed homes remain unbuilt.
“I am reminded of what the-then Labour Leader, Ed Miliband MP, told his Party Conference in 2013. The BMF were in the Brighton Conference Centre to hear him unveil a new ‘Use It or Lose It’ policy aimed at builders who do not start work onsite straightway. Labour wanted to persuade property speculators to release land for building before ministers stepped in to force their hand.”
John noted that two separate independent enquiries – Kate Baker’s Review of Land Use Planning (in 2006) and Sir Oliver Letwin’s Review of Build-Out (in 2018) – had both found no real evidence of land-banking. And in his October 2018 Budget, former Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP, said speculative land-banking was not part of the business model for major housebuilders.
He concluded: “The LGA is right to say no-one can live in a planning permission, or a half-built house where work on a site has begun but not been completed. That is why in our advocacy, the BMF wants to see unrelenting determination by government and business to simplify and speed up the process to increase the number of completions to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply. The whole thrust must be implementation to enable BMF members to invest confidently in the people and materials and products needed to ‘Get Britain Building’”.
To read the NFB’s response elsewhere on the PBM website, click here.