FOUR East Lancashire council bosses have called on the government to give them powers and cash to build new council homes to tackle the housing crisis.

They were responding to a major speech on Monday by Prime Minister Theresa May on the issue where she warned developers that she would not rule out any options to tackle delays in homebuilding on sites with permission for houses.

And Mrs May backed her local government secretary Sajid Javid’s warning that local authorities which failed to give permission for enough homes to meet local demand would be stripped of their planning powers.

Cllr Ken Hind, Conservative leader of Ribble council, and his Labour counterparts Cllr Mark Townsend (Burnley), Cllr Mohammed Iqbal (Pendle) joined Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Phil Riley in urging ministers to give them the ability to build new local authority homes for rent.

Mrs May called for a ‘great national effort’ to get Britain building with ‘the right homes in the right places’.

She set out a shake-up of planning laws which would include give extra protections for the green belt.

Cllr Riley said: “These proposals are a very blunt instrument to solve a very complex problem which is different in different parts of the country.

“In Blackburn with Darwen we have had cases where planning permission has been granted but the market has been sluggish so the sites have not been developed.

“We now have 11 developers building or about to start constructing 1,387 houses across 15 sites.

“The best way to solve the problem of lack affordable housing is to give councils in East Lancashire the powers to build council homes for rent and the ability to borrow money at public sector rates to pay for them.”

Cllr Hind said: “Ribble Valley has no shortage of sites with planning permission being developed and indeed the government has reduced our housing building targets.

“Ribble Valley council needs new powers and the availability of finance to encourage the construction of affordable homes for young families and to build where necessary.”

Cllr Townsend said: “These proposals will make little difference to Burnley, where need help to develop brownfield land for homes for young people and families.

“The council needs borrowing powers to work with partners with the expense of developing these brownfield sites and to build council homes as well.”

Cllr Iqbal said: “Pendle council needs new powers and the ability to borrow to finance new council homes and help with the development of affordable homes for sale so young families can get a roof over their heads.”