Close to 500,000 potential new homes with planning permission are caught up in a giant backlog that is contributing to the country’s housing crisis, according to the Local Government Authority (LGA).
A study commissioned by the LGA shows that 475,000 homes with planning permission are waiting to be built in England, a rapid increase on previous figures.
In 2012/13, the total unimplemented planning permissions was 381,390 and in 2013/14, it was 443,265.
Councillor Peter Box, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said: “These figures conclusively prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact, the opposite is true, councils are approving almost half a million more houses than are being built, and this gap is increasing.”
Box added that private developers cannot build the 230,000 needed each year on their own, arguing that councils need more power to “invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly”.
Most radically, council leaders also want powers to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.
The LGA said that the figures underline the need for the skills shortage affecting the construction industry to be addressed.