More than 423,000 homes have been giving planning permission but are still waiting to be built, according to new research published by the Local Government Association.
The figures also show that developers are taking longer to build new homes. It now takes 40 months, on average, from schemes receiving planning permission to building work being completed – eight months longer than in 2013/14.
The planning system is not a barrier to building. Councils are approving nine in every 10 planning applications, and granted planning permission in 2016/17 for 321,202 new homes – up from 204,989 new homes in 2015/16.
The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, says the new analysis underline the need for councils to be given greater powers to take action on unbuilt land which has planning permission.
It says councils need powers to act on uncompleted schemes, including making it easier to compulsory purchase land where homes remain unbuilt, and to be able to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.
Local Liberal Democrat campaigner, Ricky Duveen, said:
“These figures prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true. In the last year, councils and their communities granted twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that were completed.
“Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. While private developers have a key role to play in solving our housing crisis, they cannot meet the 300,000 house-building target set by the Government their own.
“We have no chance of housing supply meeting demand unless councils can get building again.”