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Homes yet to be built in East Lancashire 'a problem'
MORE than 8,000 homes across seven East Lancashire boroughs have got planning permission but have yet to be built.
The figures were released by councils in response to Local Government Association research showing 381,000 properties in England have the official go-ahead where there is no sign of construction.
Pendle planning chairman Tony Greaves said: “This adds to the chaos of the planning system.”
Stuart Hirst, Tory leader of Ribble Valley council said: “This backlog just causes us problems in trying to sort out our strategy for homes.”
And Blackburn with Darwen Tory planning spokesman Alan Cottam said: “This landbanking helps no one. We need to inject some urgency into the system so the houses actually get built.”
The borough’s regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “What is clear is that government needs to give councils more powers to work with developers to overcome tthese obstacles.”
Pendle Council has 1,069 homes with planning permission, of which 940 have not yet been built.
In Burnley there are 1,445 unstarted homes with permission. In Blackburn with Darwen the figure is 1,390, in Ribble Valley 1,749, Chorley 2,617 and Rossendale 412.
In 2012, Hyndburn Council granted planning permission for 1,109 homes but only 57 were completed in 2011/2012.
The LGA said little progress had been made in reducing the backlog over the past year. It called on the government to remove restrictions on how much councils could spend on housing.
Coun Greaves said: “It’s very difficult to plan for housing when this happens. The whole planning system for homes is in chaos.”
Coun Hirst said: “We have submitted our core strategy to the government but we don’t know when houses we have given permission for will be built.
“Developers get permission and put the extra value on their balance sheet rather than build them.”
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “Mortgage rates are at the lowest they’ve been for certainly the last four or five years, and that’s encouraging.”
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