According to the charity Shelter, Over 320,000 homes with permission have failed to be developed over the past 5 years.
It has been said by Shelter, that this is almost 1/3 of homes.
Per the research, in London the issue is “particularly acute”, with one in two being “phantom homes”.
It has been said by Shelter that, the UK’s existing housebuilding system encourages developers to sit on land and “drip out new homes so as to keep prices high”.
Shelter wishes for the government to toughen up on developers, and create regulations with councils having the ability to tax developers if houses are not being developed quickly enough.
Additionally, Shelter want these policies, as well as a policy for granting planning permission to developers based on their track record, outlined in the housing white paper.
There is also evidence in the charity’s research to imply a 388% rise as been seen in the profits of the country’s top five housebuilders over the past 5 years, which is a total of £3.3 billion in 2016.
The head of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, Anne Baxendale, had the following to say:
“While people across the country struggle with eye-wateringly high housing costs, developers’ profits are soaring into the billions.
Time and again we hear the ‘red tape’ of the planning system being blamed but the real problem is a system where developers make more profit sitting on land than they would by building homes.
It’s clear our housebuilding system has failed the nation but the government can turn things around by supporting a whole new approach.
Shelter’s New Civic Housebuilding model listens to the needs of communities and gives more powers to councils to get developers building the high-quality genuinely affordable homes we need.”
The charity said that new Civic Housebuilding would create a rise in housebuilding outside the speculative model through land market reform, combined with targeted public investment.
The policy director at the Home Builders Federation, David O’Leary, said the following:
“Housing supply is up by more than 50 per cent in just three years with the overwhelming contribution coming from national house builders.
While headline planning permission data is growing at unprecedented rates, a reflection of builders’ intention to build more in the coming years, the majority of this land is not at a stage at which it can yet be built on.”
O’Leary has said that pauses in the planning system result in permissions sometimes taking several years to process the point where construction to start, particularly on large sites with complex infrastructure requirements.
The ability for small firms to grow with large companies has been “hampered” due to the cost and risk involved in securing planning permission which commits “significant resource” to piloting the procedure.
“Many of these so called ‘phantom homes’ will be plots on sites where construction is underway but it obviously takes time to actually build out all the homes.
“Oversimplified and ideologically driven analysis distracts from the efforts of builders large and small, public and private to tackle the housing crisis.
A basic understanding of the common house builder business model demonstrates why land with an implementable planning permission is started right away.”
Shelter’s data focuses on the success of the planning system in delivering more permissions for new housing, Tom Kenney, policy officer at the RTPI told the Planner.
“It is important to recognise that there are a number of legitimate reasons why outline planning permissions do not translate into housing completions in the short-term.
However these findings reaffirm the need for the government to find ways to speed up housebuilding.”
The RTPI’s 16 ways to tackle the housing crisis that was launched by the institute last year was mentioned.
“To get more sites ready for development we need to know more about potential land for housing – especially who owns land or has permission or options to develop it. We need to align transport infrastructure and housing more effectively.
And local planning authorities need increased resources to be as efficient as possible in pushing developments forward.”
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