Belfast Telegraph

Tories 'turn down more house-building plans than Labour'

Property developers are less likely to get planning permission to build new housing from a Conservative-controlled local authority, according to a new study.

Tory councils granted 75% of major residential planning applications in the past year, compared with 88% granted by Labour-controlled authorities, said funding firm Saving Stream.

Nine out of the 10 local authorities with the lowest rate of planning permissions were Conservative-led, including Maldon in Essex, which granted just 26% of applications, Guildford in Surrey (34%) and Bournemouth in Dorset (43%), said the report.

Saving Stream added developers were more likely to have their planning applications granted in Labour areas such as Cambridge, Hartlepool, Barnsley and Camden.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of Saving Stream, said: "It's vital that local authorities ensure they are supporting developers in order to drive residential development and fill the housing gap.

"Affordable residential properties are high in demand, but if developers keep running into obstacles then this demand can't be met.

"Nobody is saying that local authorities have to approve every application but it's important that they keep an open mind when being presented with an idea, making decisions quickly and fairly."

A Government spokesman said: "Successive governments have held the view that it is right for local authorities to decide the development that is right for their local area, reflecting local circumstances, including environmental protections.

"We are equally clear that local need must be met, whichever local authority that applies to."