Conservatives blocks house-building according to new data

Attempts to build new homes are being blocked by the government in the run-up to the General Election, according to official data.

Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has dismissed applications for over 9,000 new homes in the first three months of 2015, according to BilFinger GVA.

The property consultant says Mr. Pickles has allowed only 5% of the dwellings he has been asked to approve in 2015, with the remaining applications refused despite a third of them being recommended by the Planning Inspectorate.

This marks a change of behaviour from Mr. Pickles, who has approved 60% of applications since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012, which was designed to remove some of the obstacles to house-building.

According to BilFinger GVA, this stark shift has resulted in calls of party political bias, with the Conservative Mr. Pickles accused of quashing applications in key marginal areas ahead of the election. However, some developers said that these decisions are typically rejected or shelved in the months leading up to a General Election in preparation for the political uncertainty of these times.

The new data has caused several to question Mr. Pickles’ – and the Government’s – management of UK house-building. Dan Wilson Craw of Generation Rent released a statement asking: “What on earth is the government playing at?”

He added: “Seeing ministers blow an opportunity to house thousands of families (and burnish their record on housing) is dispiriting. By doing this so close to an election, the government is doing nothing but shredding their pro-housing credentials. Antics like this start making their attacks on the last lot’s house building stats ring a bit hollow.”

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