New data from Hart District Council shows that crony capitalist builders are banking their planning permissions and not building at a high enough rate to meet our housing needs. Surely, it is time for local councils to be given more powers to force developers to build out their sites on a timely basis or transfer them to another builder who can.
First, let’s take a look at the net completions each year since the planning period started in 2011.
Note, that according to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), we should be building at around 375 dwellings per annum to meet our housing needs, and in fact at a higher rate in the early years of the Local Plan period.
Now let’s take a look at the outstanding, uncompleted dwellings, by year of the decision to grant planning permission.
|Year of grant||Net uncompleted dwellings|
This shows there are 1,074 dwellings that were granted permission on or before 2013 and have yet to be built, nearly the entire amount of new homes built since 2011. It is well known that the construction industry has long lead times, but surely more than 3 years from granting permission to completion is simply too long.
It is surely not right that developers turn up to planning appeals and seek to blame Hart Council for not building enough houses and use that to try and justify why their pet project should be granted permission, when it is clear the builders are simply storing up these planning permissions and not getting on with building the houses we need.
Sadly, this is in-line with the House of Lords Select Committee that said:
We see the gap between planning permissions and housing completions as a fundamental one in respect of securing increased housing supply. In a climate where over 240,000 homes a year are being granted planning permission, it is a fundamental failure of the development system that over 100,000 fewer homes are actually being built. This situation must be addressed.
It is also in-line with our own research that shows how developers have taken control of the planning system for their own ends.
Thanks to Hart Council for putting in the effort to dig the raw data out of their systems, which I know has been a difficult task.