New ‘use it or lose it’ policy will force developers to build new homes

A crackdown is being considered on the practice of “land banking”, to stop greedy developers buying large areas of land and then leaving them unfinished or abandoned

More than 1.1 million homes have been approved for construction in the past ten years but have not been built

Housebuilders face losing their land if they do not develop on it, under plans to block ‘land banking’.

The crackdown will introduce time limits for big developments who have acquired planning permission from their local council.

Boris Johnson has set a target of building 300,000 homes a year by 2025 under plans to tackle the UK’s housing crisis.

However, more than 1.1 million homes have been approved for construction in the past ten years but have not been built, according to analysis by the Local Government Association.

Critics have accused housebuilders of restricting supply to drive up house prices.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said the government wants to make sure homes are built on the land sold.

He told the Home Builders Federation: “We can’t deny that there is a major perception problem and people feel strongly about this. So we want to take action to ensure builders build out at the pace promised.”

The government is considering implementing a deadline by which point plots of land must be developed on large sites, according to The Times.

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“We’ve got to tread carefully, but a mixed approach could work,” a government source said.

A Planning Bill this year will also stop residents objecting to individual applications for new-build homes.

Anthony Breach, a senior analyst at the Centre for Cities think tank, told the publisher: “Land banking is caused by the existing planning system.

“In our unusually dysfunctional system, we have the situation where new homes that comply with local plans can still be blocked on a case-by-case basis. In response, builders then hoard a land bank of projects as a safety buffer to manage this risk.”

A government spokesman said: “We are clear that new homes should be built as soon as possible once planning permission is granted.” He said that councils and developers should work together to overcome any barriers.

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