New research published today reveals there are a record 475,647 homes in England which have been given planning permission but have yet to be built.

The study, commissioned by the Local Government Association and carried out by industry experts Glenigan, shows this bumper backlog has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years.

In 2012/13, the total of unimplemented planning permissions was 381,390 and in 2013/14 it was 443,265.

The LGA said that the figures underline the need for councils to be able to invest in building more homes and also for the skills shortage affecting the construction industry to be addressed.

Council leaders also want powers to charge developers full council tax for every unbuilt development from the point that the original planning permission expires.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, also said:

Developers are taking longer to complete work on site. It now takes 32 months, on average, from sites receiving planning permission to building work being completed – 12 months longer than in 2007/8.

The number of planning applications being granted planning permission in 2014/15 was 212,468 – this is up from 187,605 in 2007/08 and is higher than all previous years.
Councils still approve nine in every 10 applications. While the construction industry’s forecasted annual recruitment need is up 54 per cent from 2013, there are 10,000 fewer construction qualifications being awarded by colleges, apprenticeships and universities.There were 58 per cent fewer completed construction apprenticeships last year than in 2009.

Cllr Keith House, LGA Lib Dem Group Housing spokesman, said:

“These figures conclusively prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true, councils are approving almost half a million more houses than are being built, and this gap is increasing.

“While private developers have a key role in solving our chronic housing shortage, they cannot build the 230,000 needed each year on their own. To tackle the new homes backlog and to get Britain building again, councils must have the power to invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly.

Cllr James Baker, Warley ward Councillor said:

“The Conservative government has said we need to plan for extra houses here in Calderdale, and the Labour run Council is consulting on whether or not to build them on places like Roils Head Moor. The thing is there are already 100,000s sites across the country that already have planning permission, that are simply not being built on. Let’s build on these sites first!”

Outrage over Council plans to build on green spaces


Calderdale Council has announced its consultation on the sites its planning to allocate for housing within the Ward. If the sites included in this consultation were to make it into the local plan we would lose almost every green space in the ward.

I’ve been working with Liberal Democrat campaigner Ashley Evans to launch major campaign to save and protect the green spaces within Warley ward. There are plenty of places that you could build in Calderdale that would not result in the loss of playing fields, recreation grounds and children’s play parks or allotments. It is unacceptable for the Labour run Council to list these sites as potential housing sites in the current consultation on the local plan.

To illustrate the sheer scale of what is being proposed here is a quick list of some of the sites identified in Warley ward:

Doctors Hill LP1459

Ling Bob Playing Fields Site reference LP0967 – To build 72 houses on the playing fields behind Harewood Avenue, Ling Royd and Rye Lane.

Fountainhead – LP0983 – Another 40 houses

Mount Tabor – LP1440 – 110 houses and LP0872 87 houses.

Pellon Allotments – LP0156 – To build 31 houses on site that is currently uses as allotments.

Roils Head Moor LP1374, LP1458, LP0093 – 97 Houses behind Vicar Park, another 32 by the Reservoir, and a further ‘urban expansion citing a residential capacity of 2862

Sandbeds Park LP1353 – 16 Houses on the Children’s play park.

Warley Town LP0042, LP1276 & more – Land on recreation ground, cricket pitch and Green Hill. 56 Houses on recreation ground, 30 on the Cricket Ground and 47 at Green Hill.

Windle Royd – LP1457 – Urban expansion with a population size of 1762 cited.

If you are as concerned about these plans please respond to the consultation and also sign the petition we have set-up to help protect Calderdale’s green spaces.

You can also help the campaign by downloading our petition on it and collecting signatures from your friends and family before returning it. ProtectGreenSpacesPetition


Warley Town is surrounded by new housing sites under the plan

Update on Housing Development down at Maltings Site

There is currently a housing development going on down by the Maltings College in Fountinhead Village. The development is on the old depo site, which is known locally as ‘the slab’ by some residents. The development of 47 affordable homes is being undertaken by the Housing Association ‘Home Group. The development has been set back though as the builder (Southdale) has gone into administration. We are now in a situation where the Housing Association is trying to find another builder to continue the development.

Concerns have been raised with me by residents with regards to issues of land contamination. The developer did submit details covering land contamination and our Environmental Health team made the following comment on that submission:

“Contaminated Land: Condition 5 – The Contaminated Land report by Solmek of 2014, is a good report that details the issues well for this site. I am pleased to see they have identified issues and solutions for remediation of the site: Please accept that the remediation proposals are approved, but to acknowledge that the condition cannot be marked as satisfied until the validation report for the land contamination issues have been submitted and approved.”

Following the query from a resident, and my question of the situation the Council will investigate to ensure that the builders Southdale going into administration hasn’t had any adverse impact on the remedial solutions for dealing with any contamination on the site.  I hope this helps alleviate any concerns local residents may have concerning the matter.

Bedroom Tax needs to be scrapped

The interim report on the removal of the spare room subsidy aka Bedroom Tax makes for sobering reading. Only 4.5% of those affected have downsized to a smaller property, compared to 6% who have been forced to borrow on either credit card or take out loans to cover their additional costs. It’s clear from the evidence that the policy is failing to achieve the aim of  freeing up social housing for families desperately in need of larger houses as they have children living in overcrowded accommodation.

When this issue was debated in Calderdale Council I supported the broad efforts of the policy to try and help families  living in overcrowded housing find suitable accommodation. I put in an amendment to a Labour motion condemning the Bedroom tax that  sought  to introduce some practical measures to lessen any negative impact of the policy.  Although Labour’s motion was critical of the policy, I considered it grandstanding  that didn’t offer anything practical that would actually help local residents.

Now the policy has been in place and its impact has been assessed it’s abundantly clear it needs to be radically altered. The result of the policy as it stands is that more people are falling into personal debt and financial problems. Additionally the evidence shows the policy isn’t achieving it’s aim of encouraging people to downsize.  When the facts change, so should people’s views. I hope other Liberal Democrats that had supported the aims of this policy will now agree with me it’s not working and needs to be changed.

Pride in Pellon

At last nights ward forum Paul Tait from the Action for Pellon Community group rightly raised concerns about the state of the Pellon estate and the lack of investment from Pennine Housing or Calderdale Council.

Paul is right In recent years neighboring communities have seen investment in their estates and housing stock.  Take for instance the flats in Mixenden that got a £3.6 Million make over to improve insulation, and cut heating bills or the announcement that the Council wants to redevelop the Beech Hill area.

Councillors Ashley Evans and I want to campaign to ensure the Pellon Estate is not left behind. That is why we are launching a petition to put pressure on Calderdale Council and Pennine Housing to act.

You can download the petition form the link below. Please print it out and get your friends and neighbours to sign it. Once you have done this you can post it back to us at the freepost address provided.

Pellon Petition