The Government is exerting pressure on developers to prevent so-called “landbanking” and boost housebuilding, the Communities Secretary has signalled.
Sajid Javid claimed both large and small developers “well understood” the Government’s concerns over successful planning applications not always resulting in new homes, as firms sit on land.
The Cabinet minister revealed the issue was addressed during a roundtable discussion, chaired by the Prime Minister, between housebuilders, housing associations and local government representatives in Downing Street on Tuesday.
Speaking after the talks, Mr Javid told Sky News: “The Prime Minister is absolutely determined where people are getting planning permission – and it’s good to see planning permissions last year at a record high – but we need those planning permissions to turn into homes.
“People cannot live in a planning permission, we need a house built there and I think that was well understood today by the industry.”
But Mr Javid sidestepped questions over whether he would support green belt land being used to provide greater opportunities for housebuilding, following reports the Treasury is considering including plans to release protected public land in next month’s Budget.
Image: Sajid Javid sidestepped questions over green belt land
“I believe that local authorities should make the decision about what land they release, it should be locally led and that should obviously reflect local demand,” Mr Javid said.
Downing Street described Tuesday’s “positive and collaborative” meeting as part of the Prime Minister’s efforts to fix Britain’s “broken” housing market, with its aim to “signal a step change in house building”.
A spokesperson added: “For too many people, home ownership has moved increasingly out of reach, and people are finding themselves spending longer in insecure private rented accommodation that is becoming ever more expensive.
“The Prime Minister outlined her plans to increase housing supply which means developers, big and small, local authorities and housing associations all stepping up to play their part.
“Other issues discussed included making the most of modern methods of construction, having the skilled workers we need, helping small and medium sized enterprises grow and making sure planning permissions granted by councils were delivered into new homes.”
During the Conservative Party conference, Mrs May announced a £2bn boost for building affordable homes – but faced criticism after it emerged the extra cash would only see 5,000 extra homes delivered per year.