Planning permissions rise, says builders group

Builders at work on a house in Kent
Image caption The HBF wants to see more homes built

Planning permission was granted for 33,881 homes across England in July to September, according to figures from the Home Builders Federation (HBF).

It said this was a 36% rise on the 24,872 approvals in the second quarter, and 17% higher than a year earlier.

However, the HBF said the latest figure was still less than the 60,000 approvals it says are needed each quarter to meet demand.

In April, planning law in England was changed to give councils more powers.

Under the National Planning Policy Framework, local authorities are required to work out future housing needs in their area, and then allocate sufficient land to meet it.

The aim of the government is to remove obstacles to the building of new houses, and to speed up planning decisions.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: "The increase is good news and hopefully a reflection of the positive planning principles of the new system. It is just one quarterly increase and we are still well short of the number needed but we hope it starts a trend that will continue in 2013.

"The new system must provide enough viable land to build the number of homes the country needs. Continuing the current low level of house-building is storing up huge social and economic problems for the years ahead and the shortfall must be addressed."

The HBF is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales.

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