New research from the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that more than a million homes were not built in the past decade despite planning permission for them being granted.
The figures showed that 2,564,600 units have been granted planning permission by councils since 2009/10 but only 1,530,680 units were completed in the same period.
Councillor David Renard, the LGA’s housing spokesman, stated: “The planning system is not a barrier to house building. The number of homes granted planning permission has far outpaced the number of homes being built.”
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “These figures give lie to the Government’s claim that council planning departments are the problem in getting more new homes built.”
As part of its submission to the Treasury ahead of next month’s Budget, the LGA is also calling for the Government to reform Right to Buy, by allowing councils to keep all of the receipts of homes sold under RTB to replace them and to have the flexibility to set discounts locally.
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning at the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “Cllr Renard and John Healey MP do not appear to understand the development process and their comments are deeply offensive to the 80% of small builders that over the previous thirty years have ceased trading.
“I encourage both to look into why so many local plans are allocating and granting such great numbers of undeliverable and difficult to deliver planning permissions.
“Before shovels are allowed in the ground, many developments have pre-commencement conditions to clear, contribution negotiations to conclude or major infrastructure investment to complete. Some permissions are outline planning applications, or are put forward by land promoters, not builders, who haven’t calculated the cost of actually building the homes.
“Sweeping statements about undelivered homes to make a political point, ignores delivery challenges and sustains the housing crisis. The HBA lobbied for a small sites register to ensure deliverable permissions get allocated. The LGA rejected it. We lobbied for a greater number of small and medium sites in local plans. The LGA rejected it. Yet we backed their call for an increase in planning fees to better resource planning departments and to unlock funding for council homes. It’s time that politicians on all sides understood the challenges of delivering homes and stopped playing politics with the housing crisis.”