Latest HBF data says permissions have collapsed under coalition government

The number of new homes being given permission has fallen by a fifth, as the impact of the post-election uncertainty in the planning system takes its toll.

The number of planning permission granted fell 7% in the third quarter 2010 to 36,400 units, 18% lower than the equivalent quarter in 2009, according to a report produced for the House Builders’ Federation.

The number of permissions fell to a record low of 25,900 in 2009 in the depths of the credit crunch but had been recovering until the middle of 2010.

The third quarter fall, the latest period for which figures are available, is now the second consecutive fall in permissions. The figures are a long way below the quarterly averages of 64,500 achieved during 2006/7.

The HBF says the fall in permissions threatens to exacerbate the already existing housing crisis, and says it coincides with the radical changes to the planning system implemented by the Coalition government.

The government has abolished top-down housing targets and given local authorities the power to decide how many homes they need.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, HBF executive chairman, said: “The government cannot afford to let confusion over planning policy reduce further the number of permissions given.

“Whilst the policy vacuum of the past few months is now being filled, it is vital government gets on and implements its new policies. It must ensure local authorities accept responsibility and the power they have been given. It is crucial councils recognise the housing shortage.”