MP Penrose demands developers pay council tax and business rates to cut house prices

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 June 2018

John Penrose.

John Penrose.


Housing developers should be hit with charges and taxes as soon as they receive planning permission, according to Weston MP John Penrose.

Mr Penrose has called for house builders to be slapped with council tax and business rates once their plans are approved by councils to accelerate the delivery of new homes, ‘make housing more affordable’ and reduce the number of unwanted applications.

Addressing the House of Commons last month, Mr Penrose told MPs ‘the meter should start running’ as soon as permission is granted, giving developers ‘huge incentive to build and sell promptly rather than taking their time’.

The former minister believes the charges would give the housing sector an ‘enormous shot in the arm’ and will spark much-needed regeneration projects – with developers forced to build quickly to keep costs down.

In turn, buyers would benefit – according to the MP – with an increased supply of homes making it easier for buyers to ascend the property ladder.

He told the Mercury: “This idea was originally suggested to me by senior council folk right here in North Somerset, and I liked it so much I’m trying to apply it nationally too.

“When developers get planning permission, often after a storm of protest from local residents, they tend to build really slowly to keep prices high, and use the lack of completed new houses to argue for even more unwanted applications on other sites nearby too.”

MORE: Penrose slams plans for 25,000 homes in North Somerset.

Mr Penrose believes the policy would be particularly effective in North Somerset, which has faced issues with slow delivery of new homes.

Last year problems with tardy developers saw the Government force the council to allocate more land for housing to ensure targets could be met.

He added: “It’s a vicious circle, so forcing developers to build faster should make housing more affordable for everybody, and make it harder for developers to force through unwanted and badly-sited planning applications too.”

Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member for housing, told the Mercury he ‘totally agrees’ with Mr Penrose’s assertions – but fears powerful lobbyists will prevent the Government from considering the policy.

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