Malbank Waters housing estate, building site, Nantwich, pic by Jonathan White

More than 20,000 homes with planning permission are yet to be built by housing firms in Cheshire East – with some dating back as far as 2010.

Cheshire East Council has granted planning permission for 20,441 homes that are currently unbuilt.

In his last autumn budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond announced the Government would commission a review into land banking – the practice of developers sitting on land with planning permission to increase profits.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of CEC’s Labour opposition group, suggested that land banking was causing problems for the borough’s five-year housing land supply.

He said: “Who controls the number of houses built? It’s the developers.

“And who benefits if there is no five-year housing land supply? The developers.

“Anyone can see what’s going to happen.

“The Government says it wants to do something about land banking, but the solutions it puts forward are ineffective.

“The real solutions involve giving powers to local councils, and the Government won’t do that.”

But borough chiefs say they are satisfied with the pace of housebuilding across the borough, with developments now being completed faster than expected.

The council points out that in 2016-17 some housing sites had more than double the number of homes built than were expected to be finished by developers.

One example includes 103 homes off Queens Drive in Nantwich, compared to the target of 30.

A spokesman at CEC said: “The conventional view of land banking isn’t the experience of CEC – many sites are progressing very well.

“It is also the case housing sites inevitably take a few years to build out.

“However, we are not at all complacent – the council needs to ensure more than 2,400 homes are built each year over the next eight years or so to fully meet housing need.

“We are, therefore, working hard to ensure more sites move more quickly and remove any remaining obstacles to new home building.”

CEC says 20,441 homes waiting to be built are taken into account in the 36,000 homes earmarked in its Local Plan – with 8,904 of these located on the plan’s allocated sites.

However, the council admits it is concerned about developers that apply for new planning permissions, despite sitting on old ones.

“Recent planning appeals have highlighted a case where a developer had not progressed planning permissions for 715 homes over three sites and yet was seeking consent for a further 189 homes on a fourth site,” the council’s spokesman said.

“In another example, a land promoter was arguing that the council hadn’t got a five-year supply by arguing that four of their own sites, granted planning consent on appeal, wouldn’t deliver to the tune of 105 homes.

“In our view this is not typical – and most of the industry is now concentrating on building homes at a faster rate.”

Cllr Rachel Bailey, CEC leader, added: “I’m absolutely clear where we have allocations or permissions we need to bring them forward.

“Government has the tools with regard to unlocking land banking, but as a local authority it’s about us looking to deal with planning applications in a timely manner, and review, follow up and assess any blockers that are there.”

(pic of Malbank Waters housing development, courtesy of Jonathan White)


  1. Mike Poole says:

    Clearly building the wrong homes. 40% are single or couples, far too many four/five bedroom options.

    Plus the designs are all the same everywhere I want an open plan multi use ground floor space and no doors cluttering the flow!!

    New build have got really boring, why a garden when cars park all over the street?
    Why wheels bins outside the front door? Bad planning at the council!!

  2. No developer wants to sit on land thats doing nothing, not bringing in any income. Their business is to build and sell as quick as possible. If they have land and are not building its either because they have cash flow problems and cant spend the money to start building or the feel that the market is saturated to the point that the houses would site empty and not sell- an inication that we are building too many

    • A lot of developers do exactly that. If the price of houses is rising, it is worth more to the developer to sit on the land (which costs nothing) and wait for the (not yet built) houses to increase in value. In many cases they may never build them themselves, but may simply sell the land (with planning permission) off at a future date.

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