The Swindon Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, has warned of stark consequences due to the Swindon’s failure to build the necessary homes it had agreed to as part of its Local Plan. Over the last four years (2011-2015) an average of 688 homes per year have been built in Swindon which was nearly half of the Borough’s Local Plan requirement of 1150 per year. It is expected that around 1000 homes will be built in the borough in 2015/16.
The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework states that where there is persistent under-delivery in housing completions, an extra 20% of housing numbers should be added to the Borough’s 5 year housing land supply. Swindon Borough Council’s 5-year housing land supply target is currently based on offering an additional 5% on top of its land supply numbers.
The Labour Group said that the lack of housing completions in the borough mean that the government will likely approve on appeal all planning applications for housing, regardless of residents views, as they did with the Hook Street and Ridgeway Farm Planning Applications.
He blamed the housing developers for the lack of housing in Swindon and the government for failing to force developers to build homes as soon as planning permission is received rather than land bank until property prices increase.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“The release of this information is a massive worry. Firstly it is a tragedy for those young people who want to own their first home or live in an affordable home that these homes simply aren’t being built in sufficient quantities by developers. This not only means that there are not enough homes to buy but it will also have an effect on house prices.
It is not that there are not enough planning applications being approved as there are plenty of sites designated for housing; however developers are quite simply banking up land and refusing to build. The government are then refusing to do anything to force the developers to build but will force approval of planning applications through appeal if insufficient homes are being built in the borough. Frankly, the government should be doing more to force these developers to build homes.
The implications this will have on Swindon is huge. It will mean basically that any appeal against the Planning Committee’s decision by developers for housing will be overturned. They’ve already done this with the Hook Street and Ridgeway Farm developments and I think this will become an increasing feature of planning, no matter what residents want.
I think as a Council we need to take a collective stand and find a way to get these developers to build houses. It’s what our young people need to get in to home ownership or in an affordable home.”