Letter: Housing - Developers must be forced to start

Picture: PA
Picture: PA

I sympathise with Coun Burnett on the problems of getting the right message across in a TV interview (Harrogate Advertiser, October 1).

The current housing crisis, both nationally and especially locally, is not because local authorities are reticent to grant permission. It is more to do with developers failing to start building when they do have permission.

Current legislation sets a time limit (normally three years) within which a development must be started, but no time limit for completion.

There are many examples locally where nominal “starts” have been made but no actual houses built.

What is needed is a change in the legislation which will give local authorities the power to enforce completion notices on development.

A timetable for completion should be part of the conditions for planning consent, with meaningful penalties for failure to comply. This needs Government action.

The shortage of affordable houses in Harrogate and nationally is so acute that it is simply not sufficient to hope that persuasion alone will get developers to build.

David Siddans

Yew Tree Lane, Harrogate