Planning permissions top 2008 levels
Housing minister Brandon Lewis claimed that this demonstrated how government efforts are working to keep the country building.
In the year to March, councils across England granted permission for 261,000 new homes – the highest annual total for eight years.
Lewis said: “The previous system of top-down targets built nothing but resentment. Our reforms, a key part of our long-term economic plan, have changed that.
“It means that permissions have been granted on 261,000 homes in the year to March – higher than the pre-recession peak in 2007 – while housing starts are more than double what they were six years ago.
“And with the Housing Bill set to include measures to bring forward brownfield sites, we’re determined that we will keep the country building while protecting the green belt.”
Lewis said the 2008 crash devastated the housebuilding industry and led to the loss of a quarter of a million construction jobs.
He added: “That’s why the government has placed housebuilding at the heart of its long-term economic plan.
“This includes radical reforms to put power directly into the hands of local people over the future development of their area, by putting local plans at the heart of the planning system.
“Already, 64% of councils have adopted a local plan – compared to just 17% in May 2010.
“It means local support for housebuilding has doubled in the past four years, from 28% in 2010 to 56% now, while opposition to local housebuilding has more than halved during the same period.
“The forthcoming Housing Bill will go further, and will include measures to create a new register of brownfield land to help fast-track the construction of new homes on previously-used sites near existing communities.
“And with more than 1,500 communities across the country having applied to have their neighbourhood plan designated, the Bill will also include measures to streamline and speed up the process so even more areas can follow suit.”