New research published today reveals there are a record 475,647 homes in England which have been given planning permission but have yet to be built.
The study, commissioned by the Local Government Association and carried out by industry experts Glenigan, shows this bumper backlog has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years.
In 2012/13, the total of unimplemented planning permissions was 381,390 and in 2013/14 it was 443,265.
The LGA said that the figures underline the need for councils to be able to invest in building more homes and also for the skills shortage affecting the construction industry to be addressed.
Council leaders also want powers to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, also said:
Developers are taking longer to complete work on site. It now takes 32 months, on average, from sites receiving planning permission to building work being completed – 12 months longer than in 2007/8.
The number of planning applications being granted planning permission in 2014/15 was 212,468 – this is up from 187,605 in 2007/08 and is higher than all previous years.
Councils still approve nine in every 10 applications. While the construction industry’s forecasted annual recruitment need is up 54 per cent from 2013, there are 10,000 fewer construction qualifications being awarded by colleges, apprenticeships and universities.There were 58 per cent fewer completed construction apprenticeships last year than in 2009.
Cllr Keith House, LGA Lib Dem Group Housing spokesman, said:
“These figures conclusively prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true, councils are approving almost half a million more houses than are being built, and this gap is increasing.
“While private developers have a key role in solving our chronic housing shortage, they cannot build the 230,000 needed each year on their own. To tackle the new homes backlog and to get Britain building again, councils must have the power to invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly.
Cllr James Baker, Warley ward Councillor said:
“The Conservative government has said we need to plan for extra houses here in Calderdale, and the Labour run Council is consulting on whether or not to build them on places like Roils Head Moor. The thing is there are already 100,000s sites across the country that already have planning permission, that are simply not being built on. Let’s build on these sites first!”