Developers sitting on housing permissions
DEVELOPERS are sitting on planning permissions for hundreds of homes at a time when swathes of green belt are at risk.
Figures released by Cheshire East Coucnil show developers are ‘land banking’ sites around Macclesfield, gaining planning permission to build new homes but failing to complete the build.
Between April 1, 2009 and December 31, 2015 planning permission was given for 4,921 houses in Macclesfield.
This is a net figure of 4,294 after taking into account the number of homes which are demolished to make way for new developments.
Cheshire East was not able to provide the number of homes built for the same period, but figures between April 1, 2010 and September 30, 2015, show that the house completions recorded within the Macclesfield borough settlements was just 608 for Macclesfield town, 52 for Bollington, 16 in Prestbury, two in Chelford, 52 in Disley and just one in Poynton.
This is an average of 132 built a year, for every 636 granted.
At the same time large swathes of green belt are at risk from development in the latest draft of the council’s Local Plan.
Council bosses have written to ministers and met MPs to call for measures to get developers building.
Coun Ainsley Arnold, councillor for Tytherington and Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said: “It should not be possible for developers to press for more countryside to be released when there is clearly a healthy supply of development land.
“We seem to be locked into a system where the delivery of new homes is largely dictated by a limited number of large housebuilders. The reality is they control the supply of new housing and if they choose not to bring forward sites very quickly there seems to be very little we can do.
“Government should consider introducing regulations that tie housebuilders to achieving acceptable build rates or lose their planning permissions.”
Coun Janet Jackson, ward councillor for Central Macclesfield, said developers needed to act before asking for more land.
She said: “This is a big issue.
“Developers are coming forward getting permissions for houses in Macclesfield and then not building them.
“They are land backing at a time when we are under pressure from government to provide more homes and green belt is being earmarked for development. We should build on brownfield first.”
The revised Local Plan earmarks 4,250 homes by 2030, including 200 homes south of Chelford Road, an extra 150 homes at Gaw End Lane and 150 homes between Chelford Road and Whirley Road - all on green belt.
Tim Whiteley, from Save Macclesfield Green Belt, said: “Macclesfield is losing hundreds of acres of green belt and we need to fight to protect it.”
●● Green Belt near Fence Avenue included in Local Plan, under threat from the King’s School proposal