The number of new housing developments has fallen to a record low

The number of new housing developments has fallen to a record low, industry leaders warn

  • Fewest sites granted planning permission in last few months since 2006 

New housing developments have fallen to another record low, the industry warns today.

Figures from the Home Builders Federation show that fewer sites were granted planning permission in recent months than at any time since 2006.

Its latest ‘housing pipeline’ report said just 2,447 projects got the green light in the third quarter of this year, down 3 per cent on the previous three months and 19 per cent down on the same period in 2022.

And the number of individual housing units granted permission from councils in England stood at 50,316 in the third quarter – 28 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Overall only 245,872 units got planning permission in the year to September, a 15 per cent drop on the previous year and the lowest figure since 2015.

Figures show that in recent months fewer sites have been granted planning permission than in any time since 2006

Experts say it calls into question the Government’s target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year and could mean fewer than 200,000 are completed in 2024.

It comes on the eve of expected reforms that campaigners fear will cut housebuilding still further, pushing up property prices and stopping young people getting on the ladder, in what has been branded a capitulation to ‘nimby’ Tory MPs.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is due to announce changes to the National Planning Policy Framework that would mean councils no longer have to plan for sufficient houses to be built to meet local demand.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the Home Builders Federation said of the latest data: ‘This is the inevitable outcome of several years of anti-growth policy and rhetoric. 

Businesses have warned for some time that the impact of Government action would be severe but now there is now a mounting body of evidence.’ 

He warned: ‘If ministers continue with the proposals to rid the planning system of targets and consequences, no matter how it is packaged, it will result in fewer new homes and represents another victory for nimby backbenchers.

‘Removing the requirement for local housing needs assessments and allowing councils to plan for as few homes as they wish will see housebuilding in some areas collapse with investment in jobs and communities all suffering.’ 

Campaigners fear that expected government reforms will further exacerbate the problem, with ministers set to announce changes that would mean councils no longer have to plan for sufficient homes to meet local demand

Ministers had tried earlier this year to unblock the development of as many as 100,000 new homes by scrapping controversial environmental regulations.

But the attempt to end the ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules – intended to offset the water pollution caused by developments – was defeated in the House of Lords with the help of Labour votes.

Despite the defeat in September, the Government has not tried again to tackle the issue in a new law.

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