To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for how many units of housing planning permission has been granted on sites in London classed as on hold or shelved; and if he will make a statement.
In my answer of 30 October 2014, Question UIN 207630, I noted how this Government had taken a series of steps to get stalled sites building, steadily reducing the number of permissions which were “on hold/shelved” across England from 90,331 in September 2011 to 48,000 in September 2014. These figures demolished the myth propagated by HM Opposition that there are 400,000 homes with planning permission not being built because of ‘land banking’.
As of December 2014, estimates by Glenigan indicate that this figure has fallen further to 45,000 across England (of which, 10,000 are in London). This is at a time when the number of planning permissions has steadily risen, with 240,000 homes in England receiving planning permission in the last 12 months.
The Government’s long-term economic plan is working and turning around the mess and recession left by the last Labour Government. Moth-balled sites are springing into action; more homes are being planned; and more homes are being built out. Of course, there is more to do, and the initiatives in my earlier answer outline what we are doing.
I would add that the policy solutions now being advocated by HM Opposition would actually have an adverse effect in reducing house building. If developers fear new development taxes or state confiscation of land, they will be less willing to undertake complex land assembly projects; they will let their existing planning permissions lapse; and they will simply be more cautious in applying for planning permission in the first place. The result would be a slower planning system and fewer new homes.