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Our members aren't land hoarders, HBF insists

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Our members aren't land hoarders, HBF insists

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing

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The Home Builders Federation has attacked what it sees as false claims that its members 'hoard' land. The group, whose members account for 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, said the debate should instead focus on how to speed up permissions in the planning pipeline if more homes are to be built.

A new report by the HBF, 'Permissions to land – debunking the land banking myth,' looks at the 220,000 plots held in the land banks of the 23 major companies surveyed. According to this report:

  • 63% of the plots are on sites where construction work is actually underway. The HBF says large sites with thousands of homes will obviously take years to build out and homes on such sites will be at various stages in the construction process
  • 31%, are on sites with only an outline permission – so builders legally cannot start building – or on sites where building is held up awaiting local authority discharge of planning conditions. 
  • 4% of plots have a planning permission and work hasn't yet started on site
  • 2% of plots are on sites not being developed because they are not economically viable. 

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: "This report is just the latest of many to debunk the myth that home builders hoard land. When you look beyond the rhetoric and the lazy accusations, the facts are quite clear: house builders do not hoard land or landbank unnecessarily. The debate really needs to be about how we get the land in the planning system through more quickly to build the homes we need and not about myths. The planning process is complex, bureaucratic, costly and time consuming. As a result, house builders have to have a pipeline of land coming through the planning system to enable them to plan their businesses."

The HBF added that "claims about landbanking are frequently made by the anti-development lobby to divert attention away from how slow and inefficient the planning system can be".

The report can be found at www.hbf.co.uk.

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