Andrew Mitchell, Sutton Coldfield MP: 'Build homes in Brum to spare the green belt'
Photo courtesy of lydia_shiningbrightly Flickr
5th September 2013
Andrew Mitchell says city's backlog of 17,000 houses with planning permission proves rural expansion is unnecessary.
Birmingham has a backlog of 17,000 homes with planning permission – leading to demands to get them built and spare the green belt .
A major housing shortage has been used to drive through the rural expansion despite there being thousands of properties with full or outline planning permission ready to be built within the city boundary.
The news has been greeted with astonishment by green belt campaigners battling the development of 10,000 homes near Sutton Coldfield.
Local MP Andrew Mitchell said the planning permissions proved there was sufficient capacity within existing built-up areas.
He said: “This underlines the point that there is no current requirement to build on Sutton Coldfield’s green belt .
“There is a substantial stock of brownfield sites across the West Midlands.”
Birmingham City Council has 30,000 on its housing waiting list and estimates a total of 80,000 new homes are needed for the city and surrounding areas by 2031. Around 600 council houses and 11,000 private homes in the city already stand empty.
A Birmingham planning department spokesman said: “There are a number of reasons for delays in development, including the viability of sites when prices get deflated, and the lack of mortgage provision for first-time buyers.
“However, here in Birmingham we have managed to sustain levels of house building and are working innovatively with construction partners through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust.
“The traditional model of working with developers is time-consuming, with the developer getting no financial returns until the point of sale, which is not realistic in the current economic climate if we want to get houses built.”
The spokesman said that developers, as well as banks and other property investors are risk-averse in the current climate and council investment could offer them incentives to get building – as well as ensure the developments are high quality.
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