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Land Banking

Volume 723: debated on Monday 21 November 2022

2. What steps his Department is taking to tackle land banking by property developers and encourage development. (902292)

Too often, planning permission is granted and building work simply does not start. Through the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill that is currently going through the House, developers will be required to notify local authorities when development starts, and existing powers to serve completion notices will be streamlined. Last week we went even further and tabled amendments to ensure that housing developers will now have to report annually on delivery, and local authorities will have the power to decline to determine applications made by developers who fail to build out at a reasonable rate earlier on the same land.

I am grateful for the Minister’s answer. This issue is important for areas such as mine, where we do not have an up-to-date local plan because the Lib Dem borough council has not sorted it. That leads to a vulnerability in our community to speculative development. Coupling that with the duty to co-operate with Leicester city, which is not building up and out either, results in huge amounts of pressure on our countryside and green spaces. What does the Minister suggest can solve this problem? Will it come forward in the new legislation?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the need for local areas to build on brownfield sites. In Leicester, the 35% uplift applies, meaning that as an urban area they ought to be building more. Where an authority is demonstrably unable to meet the needs in full, there remains a duty to co-operate. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill recognises that the duty to co-operate is too stringent a test. The duty will be abolished and replaced by more flexible policy requirements.