Planning permission in London too low to meet new housing targets

Taylor Scott International News

The current rate of planning permissions in London mean that just two thirds of the target number of homes that government officials say are needed will actually be built, according to new research. London’s planning system is allowing new homes at an annualised rate of just 27,470 as of the end of 2014, or just 69% of the target for 40,000 finished new homes each year announced by Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson in February and underlined in March’s Budget. An analysis of planning applications across the city by London estate agents Stirling Ackroyd shows just 6,780 homes were given planning permission in the last quarter spread over 826 different sites. These approvals represent 80% of all potential homes receiving a planning decision in the fourth quarter 2014. This is out of plans for 8,632 possible homes in the quarter. By contrast, if 100% had been approved, this could have allowed an annualised rate of up to 34,530 new homes, or 86% of the official target rate. In reality the number of homes reaching completion stage currently stands at an annualised rate of just 18,440 after the final quarter of 2014 saw just 4,610 properties finished in the space of three months. Despite this low base, London has seen an acceleration in finished homes. Last quarter’s figure represents a 30% increase from the third quarter of 2014. This is almost twice the acceleration in home completions seen outside the capital as across the rest of England there was a 17% uptick. However, new home starts were far lower last quarter, at just 3,040 or an annualised rate of just 12,160 homes per year. If this pace of housing starts continues and is reflected in the annual rate of completed homes it would mean failing to reach even a third of the government’s annual target. Out of all London’s boroughs, Tower Hamlets gave permission for the greatest number of new homes in the final quarter of 2014 at 1,197 dwellings spread over 25 different sites. This means more than one in six homes receiving planning permission in the capital was in Tower Hamlets, or 17% of the quarterly total. Second to Tower Hamlets in absolute terms was Croydon, where 682 homes came through the planning system, followed by Richmond with 591 dwellings approved in the quarter. At the other end of the scale Lewisham allowed just 11 new homes in the final quarter of 2014 out of a potential 18, while Kensington and Chelsea approved 13 out of 16 possible new homes and Lambeth only 17 homes out of a total of 40. Comparing the number of homes given permission to the total number of potential dwellings applied for via planning applications, boroughs vary by the leniency or rigour with which they have interpreted their guidelines. Greenwich and Hammersmith and… Continue reading →

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