Credible estimates indicate that to achieve the government’s ambition of 300,000 new homes a year, approximately 1 million permissions are needed.

We understand the frustration when planning permissions far outstrip the number of new homes being built.  Companies require a constant pipeline of work to keep their workforce employed, to counter delays in planning being granted, to guard against the impact of a recession and in case of technical difficulties.  The slower the planning process the bigger this pipeline needs to be.

Outline planning permissions

Currently 541,000 dwellings with outline planning permission on sites over 100 units outside London. 

Approximately 100,000 dwellings are held in outline permissions secured by the public sector and other civic bodies, 20%.

Specialist land developers and promoters are responsible for securing outline planning for 41% of these dwellings.

Volume housebuilders are responsible for 32%.

Time taken

Sites of 500 units or more the average time prior to the submission of the first planning application is 3.9 years while the average planning approval period until the first house is delivered is between 5.3 and 6.9 years.

Appeal process

93% of homes on sites where the applicant was a land promoter were granted without appeal.


Dwellings With Outline Planning Permission


Public Sector & Other Civic Bodies


Specialist Land Developers & Promoters




Unit Sites


Years Planning Application Submission


Years first House Delivered

Sales to housebuilders

Based on our member research we found that 20% of sites (and 17% of units, an average site size of 209 units) were sold to the largest three volume housebuilders (Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon) during the past three years.

Half of sites and 65% of units were sold to the 4th-25th largest housebuilders while almost one third of sites and 18% of units were sold to those outside of the largest 25, with an average site size of 100 units.

Often the delay in building out approved schemes is blamed on the practice of ‘land banking’, but the LPDF share Sir Oliver Letwin’s view (from his Review into Build Out Rates) that there is no evidence to support this.

There is no business case either for land promoters or housebuilders to sit on land with planning permission.

Percentile proportion of sites and units sold by specialist land developers and promoters to homebuilders and developers in the last three years.