Housing: Construction

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 29th September 2017.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Conservative, North Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what his policy is on ensuring housing developers convert planning permissions into homes.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

We are clear that new homes should be built out as soon as possible once planning permission is granted. Indeed, all planning permissions are time-limited: if building does not commence within the time period specified in the planning permission, it will lapse.

It is important to recognise that there are a variety of reasons that might prevent development starting once permission has been granted, some of which are beyond the control of developers. That is why our Housing White Paper proposed taking a wide-ranging approach to ensure planning permissions are converted into much-need homes as swiftly as possible. The proposals aim to do so by:

    • Diversifying the range of players in the housebuilding sector.

    • Tackling barriers to developments with planning permission from starting on site, including delays to the delivery of essential infrastructure.

    • Holding local authorities and developers more clearly to account for the delivery of new homes.

    • Increasing transparency about the timing and pace of housing delivery.

We have already made progress on some key proposals, such as the recent announcement of the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Views were sought on a number of proposed tools to hold developers more closely to account. The White Paper proposals included encouraging greater scrutiny of a site’s delivery prospects where earlier permissions have not been implemented; encouraging local authorities to set shorter timescales for implementing permissions; and more streamlined procedures for serving a completion notice. We are currently considering the response to these proposals.

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