Responding to the Communities and Local Government Committee report on national planning policy, Cllr Peter Box, Housing and Planning spokesman at the Local Government Association, said:
“Eighty four per cent of councils have already published a local plan which identifies land, including brownfield land, which is suitable for housing. Any automatic assumption that brownfield sites are suitable for residential use, without enabling councils to consider issues such as location and the capacity of supporting infrastructure, is therefore unnecessary.
“A huge amount of research and multiple consultations are needed to ensure local plans reflect local opinions and map out development in an area not just over the coming years but over decades. Councils have always said that the process of getting plans in place would take time and the most important thing is to get them right.
“The planning system is not a barrier to housebuilding. Councils approve almost nine out of 10 planning applications but our recent analysis shows there are up to 475,000 homes with planning permission which are still waiting to be built. The drivers behind this are complex and beyond the influence of the planning system, such as access to finance, land affordability and the availability of skilled labour.
“Councils are desperate to clear this backlog and share the Government’s frustration when housing delivery does not meet forecasts set out in local plans. Instead of applying a delivery test on councils, town halls need more powers to encourage developers to build homes more quickly and tackle our growing construction skills shortage, which the industry says is one of the greatest barriers to building.”