The latest data shows that residential planning applications are up and the time taken to process applications continues to be at a record high. However, this isn’t the only issue causing problems for Britain’s housing market. There are hundreds of thousands of homes with planning permission which have not been built. In July 2016 just over half the 684,000 homes with planning permission had been completed. Unfortunately, it is a known fact that, after planning permission is granted, there are a variety of factors which can prevent construction from starting or slow down the completion of developments.

As announced in the Autumn Budget, the government has now commenced a review of why there is such an enormous gap and what can be done about it by appointing an independent panel of experts, led by Sir Oliver Letwin.

The purpose of the review is to analyse this situation, identify the main causes of the gap and “make practical, non-partisan recommendations, as we look to increase housing supply that’s consistent with a stable UK housing market” said Sir Oliver Letwin, Chairman of the Review Panel.

“This government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it.”

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said:

“We are determined to build the homes this country needs, but currently there is still a significant gap between the number of planning permissions being granted and the number of homes built.

This review is vital to helping us understand how we can build more homes quickly.”

The review will also consider how to avoid interventions which might discourage house building or hinder the regeneration of complex sites.

Housing has now been elevated to Cabinet status with the creation of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, headed by Sajid Javid, with Dominic Raab appointed as new housing minister. This is a proactive move and shows housing is a priority for the government. However, there have been three housing ministers during the last 18 months and there is a need for continuity to deliver the housing targets; ever-changing personnel threatens the momentum and progress made to date.