Birmingham has adopted new powers to seize vacant plots from owners who refuse to develop housing as part of a plan to build tens of thousands of new homes.
The city council is aiming to build 89,000 new homes by 2031 and so wishes to free up sites for development. This will involve tackling the practice of land banking.
Land banking is where developers purchase plots of land and hold on to them until they can be sold off at an inflated price instead of developed.
Birmingham City Council has identified a number of sites with planning permission which, it has argued, could accommodate over 8,000 new homes.
Cllr Peter Griffiths, cabinet member for housing and homes said:
“We would like to acquire these sites to build much needed homes for our citizens.”
Cllr Griffiths noted these empty plots often become ‘magnets for anti-social behaviour’ and that building on them ‘will make a real difference to the surrounding neighbourhoods’.
The council also aims to bring empty houses back into use.
It reported that over the last three years it has brought 1000 empty properties back into use and it identified 5,000 privately owned properties that have been vacant for more than six months and 1,900 that have been empty for more than three years.
Cllr Griffiths said:
“By speeding up the process through delegating decisions we can build on our success and bring more of these empty properties back into use.”