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House builders deny land-banking after councils highlight unbuilt residential development

House builders have hit back at claims by local authorities that they are ‘land-banking’ and building-out schemes more slowly than in the past.

Industry body the Home Builders Federation reacted angrily to research published by the Local Government Association which showed that 475,647 homes in England had been given planning permission but had yet to be built.

The research also indicated that developers are taking longer to complete work on site. It now takes 32 months, on average, from sites receiving planning permission to building work being completed, 12 months longer than in 2007/8 according to the LGA.

The LGA argued that this underlined the need for councils to be allowed to invest more in house-building and more action to address skills shortage in the construction industry.

The HBF denied its members were land-banking. In a statement it insisted: “The vast majority of the 475,647 homes quoted by the LGA are either on sites where work has already started, or where there is not a fully ‘implementable’ permission and where it is not legal for builders to commence construction.

“Speeding up the rate at which permissions are granted, i.e. the move from ‘granted’ to ‘implementable’, is one of the keys to significant, sustainable increases in house building.

“Too many sites are stuck in the planning system, with an estimated 150,000 plots awaiting full sign off by local authorities.”

Source: Planning Portal Director

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