Developers taking too long to build homes, MP says

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Media captionStewart Jackson has suggested creating a tax for housing developers who take too long to start building projects

Thousands of homes in the East of England are yet to be built, despite developers having had planning permission for several years.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows in some places, more than 95% of houses waiting to be built received planning permission more than two years ago.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said hesitant developers should be taxed.

But developers say it can take a long time to start building projects.

In Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, the latest figures show there are 7,402 houses with planning permission, on which work has not started.

Of these, 7,290 were granted permission more than two years ago.

'No incentive'

In Harlow, Essex, 3,300 of 3,674 homes yet to be built have had planning permission for more than two years.

Mr Jackson, a Conservative, said developers should be penalised after a year, based on the capital value of the land, if they do not act on planning permission.

"It isn't satisfactory that there is some land banking, where big companies are sitting on land that should be developed for people to have homes," he said.

But John Stewart, from the Home Builders Federation, said there was no incentive for house builders to "sit on land" and that conditions imposed by planning authorities could often lead to a delay.

"Some of those planning conditions will need to be discharged before a developer is legally able to start on site," he said.

"If a house builder has got a planning permission that is actually implementable, and legally they can start on site, they will be on site very quickly."

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