Planning Permissions

Whenever an election comes closer, we hear of plans to build houses, especially starter homes.

This usually means more lost green fields, less biodiversity, and less food security. In the “Observer” Stephen Dorril wrote “there are currently  I million planning permissions that have not been built. 1.2 million brownfield sites 300,000 empty houses. 800,000 second homes.”

Social housing waiting lists total over 1.2 million.

Houses left empty for 6 months pay no council tax. When last I checked the figures for Stroud District the figure was 4000 empty properties.

Stanley Mill (PP:150 homes) & Tricorn House are scandalously long term vacancies and have changed hands several times, so someone has made a profit.

Why cannot councils be empowered to manage & change empty houses into affordable homes as a cheaper, quicker solution than building from new on greenfield sites?

They already have some powers, but they need to be supplemented and then encouraged to use them.

This is not a new problem. In 2011 Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, wrote in “” that “For every two families needing a home in this country, there is one property standing empty”.

He continued “builders are sitting on land which has already gained PP for 300,000 homes, without adding more greenfield sites, and certainly not in an AONB.

In addition there are 740,000 empty homes in the country, and 160,000 acres of brownfield sites sufficient for 760,000 homes.”

In 2016 there were 200,000 empty properties, but the “Empty Homes Programme” was closed, and the numbers climbed steadily in every single English region.

In London the figures rose by 73% in the last 6 years.  

Surely it is time for the politicians to do the sums and fulfil their promises.   J.Graham

King’s Stanley