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Housing completion delays panel members announced

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No local government figures feature in the membership of a government-appointed panel examining why hundreds of thousands of homes with planning permission have not been built, it has been announced.

Terms of reference for the review have also been published.

In the autumn Budget, the government announced Sir Oliver Letwin (Con) would lead a review into why there is a gap between the number of homes built against the number of planning permissions being granted.

As of July 2016, just over half the 684,000 homes with valid planning permission had been completed. Any planning permission granted expires after a certain period, usually three years but it can vary.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said the review will seek to identify the main causes of the gap and will make recommendations on practical steps to increase the speed of build out. It said the latest evidence showed that residential planning applications are up and that time to process major applications continues to be at a record high.

The review will be conducted in two phases.

The first phase, which is already underway, will identify the main causes of construction delays. This will include information-gathering sessions with local authorities, developers, non-government organisations and others. Early findings will be published in the interim report, due by the spring statement on 13 March.

The second phase will make recommendations on the practical steps to increase the speed at which homes are built. Those recommendations will be published in the full report due to be published in time for the Budget in the autumn.

The independent panel’s members

  • Richard Ehrman – author, small commercial property developer and former journalist. A former special adviser to the employment secretary and Northern Ireland secretary, Mr Ehrman is also a former deputy chair of Policy Exchange.
  • Lord Jitesh Gadhia (non-affiliated) – Member of House of Lords and investment banker
  • Lord John Hutton (Labour) – Peer and former secretary of state for defence, business, and work and pensions
  • Baroness Usha Prashar (crossbench) – Peer who is also currently deputy chair of British Council and a non-executive director of Nationwide Building Society
  • Christine Whitehead – Emeritus professor of housing economics at London School of Economics
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