From The Daily Telegraph:
Developers will be ordered to use planning permission or lose it under government plans to speed up the building of hundreds of thousands of new homes. Ministers will next week publish proposals encouraging developers to build on plots more quickly rather than sit on land which has already been earmarked for new properties…
The news comes as it has emerged that the number of empty homes in the UK is at its highest level for 20 years, calling into question whether the countryside needs to be concreted over for new developments. The "housing surplus" has nearly doubled from 800,000 empty homes in 1996 to 1.4 million homes at any one time in 2014. These “empty homes” are typically second homes, or vacant properties which are either left empty or are awaiting for tenants or home owners to move in…
Currently builders lose planning permissions after three years unless work has started. However, they can maintain planning permissions on sites simply by “digging a trench”, sources said. This means that more than 700,000 homes which have been granted planning permission since 2006 are yet to be built. Under the new plans permission would be linked to the completion of homes by certain dates, rather than the starting of work…
A report last year by Civitas, a think-tank, disclosed how developers and landowners used a controversial relaxation of planning rules in 2012 to hoard planning permits rather than build more homes. More than two million planning permits were issued between 2006 and 2015 – a rate which would be enough to build an average of 204,000 new homes a year but foundations were only laid on 1.3 million of them.
Daniel Bentley, editorial director at Civitas, said councils had approved more than 200,000 homes a year for the past four years, and yet last year there were still only 164,000 new-build completions.
He said: “This would be a really bold step by ministers and suggests they are not prepared to tiptoe around developers anymore - for too long planning permissions have been granted with no obligation to build. This has meant that landowners and developers have been able to secure huge windfalls and then maximise their profits still further by drip-feeding new homes into the market at the highest prices they can.”
They're still making the following flawed assumptions:
1. That nudging up new supply (relative to existing housing stock) from half a percent to three quarters of a percent will make the blindest difference to rents and house prices. Even if it did, it would do nothing to reduce inequality, it would merely shift the gains from one favoured group to another at the expense of the same people (i.e. younger people).
2. That The Hallowed Green Belt must be preserved at all costs. Just look at the picture and caption at the start of the article! You wouldn't even notice 57 new homes in those thousands of acres of rolling countryside.
3. That's there's nothing we can do to encourage more efficient use of existing land and buildings.
But it's a start at least.
Saturday, 4 February 2017
From The Daily Telegraph:
My latest blogpost: Land bankers' myths gradually starting to unravel.Tweet this! Posted by Mark Wadsworth at 12:09