Redbridge Council has failed to meet the government’s housing target for the sixteenth year in a row, meaning it has less power to veto planning applications.

According to the council’s annual housing delivery report, 515 homes were completed in 2020-21, below half the government’s annual target of 1,123.

Failing the government-set housing targets, which increased again last year, means the council’s planning committee has less power to reject future applications.

The planning committee must make planning decisions with a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

At the council’s overview scrutiny committee on June 20, councillors heard the poor performance is partly due to private developers delaying building after they gain planning permission.

In the 2019-20 financial year, councillors approved plans for a total of around 2,500 new homes, five times the number actually completed the following year.

Corporate director of regeneration and culture Mark Baigent added: “I think a lot of working is being done by the planning service to work with the developers who have got consent but they haven’t yet built out, to encourage them in terms of enabling them to get on site, whether that’s demolition or construction.

“It is something we’re working on, members will be aware of the pressures we’re under in society in general, some of those we’re things not able to overcome but we do make progress where we can.”

Cabinet member for planning Sheila Bain and cabinet member for housing Vanisha Solanki did not attend the meeting.

Redbridge’s Local Plan, a legally-binding document approved by the Planning Inspectorate, has called for 1,123 new homes every year since 2015, when the annual target increased from 760 homes.

The council is now required to deliver an average of 1,619 homes a year until 2029-30 to make up for the shortfall.

The borough may thus have to redraft its Local Plan to identify more land that can be developed into housing.