In a speech in Birmingham, he will suggest that building firms should be fined if they refuse to develop land that has been given planning permission. Councils could also be given “compulsory purchase” powers to buy back sites that lie empty for years, despite having been approved for development. The proposals will be examined as part of Labour’s policy review and could feature in the party’s next election manifesto.
Planning permission has already been granted for 400,000 homes across the country, equal to a city the size of Birmingham, but they have not yet been built, in a practice known as “land banking”.
No, that\’s not land banking. That\’s prudent stock management.
So, how many houses are built each year? Even in these depressed times, some 100,000 a year.
How long does it take to get planning permission? Three to four years.
So, what should be the size of the stock of building land that the industry should have? Well, if prudently managed, you\’d expect it to have enough land to build on while it waits for more building land to be created through the planning permission system.
We expect the agricultural system to have enough food in it to get us to the next harvest. Why not the building industry to have enough stock to keep it going until new supplies are available?
And if you want to reduce that stock that\’s being held the best way to do it would be to reduce the time it takes to get planning permission.