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HBF: Developers do not 'hoard' land

New research has been conducted by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to refute the myth that developers are hoarding land rather than building on it.According to the study, just four per cent of land owned by the UK's large builders has implementable planning permission. In fact, most of the land in developers' land banks constitutes work in progress.The government must therefore work out ways to speed up the planning pipeline and increase the rate of housebuilding from its historically low levels, the organisation claims.Permissions to land - debunking the land banking myth is a survey of 23 major companies, exploring builders' plans for the 220,000 plots currently held in land banks.Some 23 per cent of these areas are on sites where construction work is already underway, the survey finds. These are at various stages of the construction process, which can take many years for the larger sites.In addition, 31 per cent are on sites with only an outline permission or on sites where developers are awaiting local authority discharge of planning conditions.Just two per cent of plots are on sites which are not being developed because they are not economically viable.Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: "When you look beyond the rhetoric and the lazy accusations, the facts are quite clear: house builders do not hoard land or landbank unnecessarily. "The debate really needs to be about how we get the land in the planning system through more quickly to build the homes we need and not about myths."While Help to Buy is encouraging builders to construct new properties, HBF says the government should ensure they can get plots of land through the planning pipeline as easily as possible. Doing so will enable builders to begin work on the 185,000 homes currently in the system.Labour leader Ed Miliband has recently attacked developers that are alleged to hoard land,  saying councils could be given powers to compulsorily purchase such plots if his party wins the 2015 election. 

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