475,000 HOMES WITH PLANNING PERMISSION STILL WAITING TO BE BUILT

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!”

Outrage over Council plans to build on green spaces

OpenspacesWeb

Calderdale Council has announced its consultation on the sites its planning to allocate for housing within the Ward. If the sites included in this consultation were to make it into the local plan we would lose almost every green space in the ward.

I’ve been working with Liberal Democrat campaigner Ashley Evans to launch major campaign to save and protect the green spaces within Warley ward. There are plenty of places that you could build in Calderdale that would not result in the loss of playing fields, recreation grounds and children’s play parks or allotments. It is unacceptable for the Labour run Council to list these sites as potential housing sites in the current consultation on the local plan.

To illustrate the sheer scale of what is being proposed here is a quick list of some of the sites identified in Warley ward:

Doctors Hill LP1459

Ling Bob Playing Fields Site reference LP0967 – To build 72 houses on the playing fields behind Harewood Avenue, Ling Royd and Rye Lane.

Fountainhead – LP0983 – Another 40 houses

Mount Tabor – LP1440 – 110 houses and LP0872 87 houses.

Pellon Allotments – LP0156 – To build 31 houses on site that is currently uses as allotments.

Roils Head Moor LP1374, LP1458, LP0093 – 97 Houses behind Vicar Park, another 32 by the Reservoir, and a further ‘urban expansion citing a residential capacity of 2862

Sandbeds Park LP1353 – 16 Houses on the Children’s play park.

Warley Town LP0042, LP1276 & more – Land on recreation ground, cricket pitch and Green Hill. 56 Houses on recreation ground, 30 on the Cricket Ground and 47 at Green Hill.

Windle Royd – LP1457 – Urban expansion with a population size of 1762 cited.

If you are as concerned about these plans please respond to the consultation and also sign the petition we have set-up to help protect Calderdale’s green spaces.

You can also help the campaign by downloading our petition on it and collecting signatures from your friends and family before returning it. ProtectGreenSpacesPetition

HousingPlan

Warley Town is surrounded by new housing sites under the plan

Liberal Democrats call for green spaces to be protected

GreenSpaces

As Calderdale Council launches its consultation on the proposals for allocating land for future house-building in Calderdale, Calderdale Liberal Democrats are launching a campaign to protect greenbelt around towns and villages, and open spaces within towns and villages.

Cllr James Baker said:

“We are really concerned about some areas of land apparently marked for potential house-building sites all across Calderdale”. In my own ward, it looks as though the Council is proposing that houses be built on playing fields, parks and allotments, as well as around villages in the open countryside where road access is poor”.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr Janet Battye added: “

We know that there is a need to build more affordable housing and social housing, but we think that the Council should look first at existing planning permissions – some 3,000 houses with permission have not yet been built – and then brownfield land which has already been built on, as well as pressing harder to bring empty buildings into use.”

“It’s also disappointing that more imaginative approaches don’t seem to be being considered, such as looking at how we might use the Garden Cities approach in Calderdale.

“We’re encouraging local people to look very carefully at these land allocation plans on which the Council is currently consulting and make their views known.”

There is a need for local affordable housing and more social housing, but expensive houses build in desirable greenbelt areas will not help struggling families looking to buy a home or move to a less crowded home. Alternative developments on brownfield sites will not only be cost-efficient, but also energy-efficient as they will minimise the need to travel. We can create local communities without compromising green spaces.

You can sign our petition calling on the Council to protect greenbelt around towns and villages, and open spaces within towns and villages here.

You can view the consultation and make comments on it here

Picture attribution to Pam Wright – https://www.flickr.com/photos/pamwright99/ (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Our use does not suggest or imply the artists endorsement. 

Why the Bedroom Tax must now be scrapped

The spare room subsidy more commonly known as the bedroom tax was an attempt to try and encourage social housing tenants living in properties with spare rooms to downsize. The intention was to free up larger properties for families on the waiting list, currently living in overcrowded housing. This is similar to what Labour introduced for privately renting tenants on local housing allowance in 2008. The wider issue is of course the housing crisis brought about by a chronic lack of affordable housing built under last government. To address this in government we have now increased the number of new affordable homes being built to the fastest rate in 20 years.

To mitigate against any adverse affect of the bedroom tax would have on local residents Liberal Democrat ministers argued that Councils should be given extra money in the form of a discretionary housing payment fund, this money was to help those most in need. Unfortunately in the last year the Labour administration only spent £94,425 of the £383,941 allocated to it from the government for this purpose. This is money that could have helped those most in need has been wasted by the Labour run Council.

An interim report into the policy shows that only 4.5% of people affected have actually downsized, whereas 6% of people affected have been forced to incur extra debt on credit cards or personal loans to afford their rent. This clearly shows that the policy has not been achieving its aims, and is not helping to enable more people to get on in life. This fact coupled with the local Council’s incompetence in using money allocated by the government to help local residents has led us to the conclusion the bedroom tax should be scrapped and replaced with a fairer policy.
Alisdair Calder McGregor – Liberal Democrat PPC for Calder Valley
Mohammad Ilyas -Liberal Democrat PPC for Halifax
Cllr Janet Battye – Leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrat Council Group
Cllr James Baker – Deputy leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrat Council Group

Communities urged to bid for funds

Leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats Councillor Janet Battye is urging local residents to apply for a share of a new government fund to help plan building projects.

The government has just announced that £17million will be available over the next 18 months to help people meet the costs of the design and planning stages of proposals that will benefit their communities.

 Cllr Battye told us: “People often have good ideas that need more work before they become concrete proposals able to attract the funding to make them happen. I think this new government fund will help people through that difficult middle stage and I urge people to apply.”

 “Playgrounds and Community shops are specifically mentioned among the projects this fund is intended to support, and those are just the sort of thing that we should be encouraging locally. If people have ideas along these lines, I urge them to apply for funding” said Cllr Battye.

 

£91 Million to turn empty houses into homes.

The Liberal Democrat communities Minister Don Foster has announced that towns across England will benefit from £91 million to refurbish and bring back into use over 6,000 empty and derelict homes and commercial premises, particularly in the Midlands and North where the problem is most acute.

The funding will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away. There funding can be accessed through the empty homes funding programme by registered social landlords, and community and voluntary groups.

The government has already invested £130 million to refurbish up to 11,500 empty homes since 2010. This includes £100 million to bring empty property back as affordable housing, and the first ‘clusters of empty homes’ programme investment of £30 million.

In addition New Homes Bonus, under which government matches council tax income on new build or empty homes brought back into use, has supported over 50,000 empty homes being refurbished for people and families to live in and rewarded councils with £59 million. Councils now also have the power to charge owners 150% council tax rate for properties left empty for more than six months, using the money to keep down council tax for ordinary families.

Councillor James Baker deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council said “It’s good news for families on the housing waiting list that our region of the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber has already received  £11,522,648 from the empty homes programme. This extra money from the government will help bring empty houses back into use and provide much needed homes for people. It makes sense to redevelop existing empty homes, as building space for new homes is limited across Calderdale.”