Shropshire Star

Shropshire councillor calls for crackdown on developers

A time restriction should be imposed on developers to crack down on the number of sites that have planning permission but are not finished, a Shropshire councillor has said.

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There are more than 11,000 outstanding planning permissions for residential development in Shropshire

There are more than 11,000 outstanding planning permissions for residential development in Shropshire, which councillor Pauline Dee, Shropshire councillor for Wem, described as "too many".

She said: "There are so many sites in Wem and across north Shropshire that have started to be built on but not yet completed.

"There are currently 11,000 outstanding planning applications.

"People just start the building work so the planning permission doesn't expire and then don't bother doing anything else.

"They do it to hold onto the land and wait for the price to go up.

"Local councils get a lot of criticism for not building enough houses but we are giving planning permission for sustainable development. It is the developers who are not finishing the job.

"I think it is something we should be lobbying."

Councillor Dee said there was a piece of land close to Wem Medical Centre which had planning permission.

She said: "All the developers have done is filling in a concrete base. It has been left there for years."

Shropshire Council previously said it was urging developers to focus efforts on delivering on the many outstanding planning permissions and identified sites that already exist.

In July it was revealed that nationally more than 320,000 homes have not been built despite having been granted residential planning permission, according to analysis by Shelter.

An estimated 68 per cent of homes with planning permission have been completed over the past five years, Shelter calculated.

It said the problem is particularly acute in London, where around one in two homes with permission have not been built.

But the Home Builders Federation (HBF) said housing supply has shown significant growth and planning delays mean permissions can take years to process to the point where construction can start.

Shelter claimed the country’s house-building system encourages developers to sit on land and drip out new homes, to keep prices high.

It said the Government needs to “get tough” and hand powers to councils to tax those who do not build fast enough, as well as take forward policies outlined in the recent housing white paper, such as granting planning permission to developers based on their track record.