The increase followed the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) last April, which gave local authorities more power over what is built in their areas.

There were 33,881 approvals compared with 24,872 in Quarter 2. The HBF says the increase is welcome but is still far short of the 60,000 approvals needed each quarter to meet the demand for new homes.

Under the NPPF, local authorities are required to assess their housing need and allocate sufficient land to meet it. The HBF says some authorities are abiding by the principles of the new system but others are not. However, the NPPF has a robust appeal system, which has enabled developers to challenge several decisions where authorities have rejected planning applications.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said:
“The increase is good news and hopefully a reflection of the positive planning principles of the new system. It is just one quarterly increase and we are still well short of the number needed but we hope it starts a trend that will continue in 2013.

“While we are hopefully seeing a turning point in planning permissions much more can be done – the policy announcements within The Growth and Infrastructure Bill coupled with measures to kickstart stalled sites and a real and concerted effort to reduce red tape are vital to continuing this important progress.

“Ministers have in the past year unveiled some very positive measures aimed at boosting housing supply, but they will only succeed if we have a truly pro-growth planning system.”

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