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Local authorities will ditch plans to build 300,000 homes

The Government’s decision to axe regional housebuilding targets and other parts of the planning infrastructure will lead to as many as 300,000 planned homes being ditched by local authorities over the next year, according to new research.

The study, carried out by Tetlow King Planning on behalf of the National Housing Federation, suggests that allowing councils to ignore the regional targets has already resulted directly or indirectly in plans for around 160,000 homes being dropped.

Tetlow King expects that figure to increase to at least 280,000-300,000 homes by this time next year, citing examples such as  Milton Keynes Central (13,360 homes), Luton/Central Bedfordshire (10,650) and North Somerset Council  (10,750).

Since the planning changes were announced by communities secretary Eric Pickles after the General Election, almost 70 councils have halted progress on development plans, reduced previously planned housing numbers or delayed planning enquiries at appeal, the research shows.

In recent weeks, the Government has re-announced plans to incentivise local authorities to build new homes and in certain cases allow communities to build new homes without planning permission.

But the NHF warned that it will still be some time before these measures take effect and called on ministers to “do far more to flesh out a planning system that will get local authorities planning for more, not fewer, homes”.

NHF chief executive David Orr said: “Ministers need to grasp the nettle and put in place a new planning system that helps us deliver the homes we so desperately need. As the housing crisis intensifies it is critical that the Government stretches every sinew to help safeguard the provision of housing, including affordable homes.”