UK landowners who fail to build on sites where planning permission has been granted will face the withdrawal of permission and even be forced to sell on the land under proposals set out on Tuesday.

The government’s housing white paper details plans to make it easier to issue “completion notices” withdrawing planning permission on sites where development has stopped.

Ministers also plan to “encourage more active use of compulsory purchase powers to promote development on stalled sites for housing”.

The measures, aimed at speeding up delivery of new homes, form part of the Conservative government’s latest set of ideas for increasing housebuilding as construction fails to meet demand. The plans are now subject to consultation.

If the tougher measures go ahead they may affect listed housebuilders, regeneration companies, and land investment groups which secure planning permission before selling on plots for housing development.

The white paper indicated ministers believe companies are “land banking” rather than buying plots to build on immediately, a charge repeatedly denied by housebuilders.

“There is also concern that it may be in the interest of speculators and developers to snap up land for housing and then sit back for a while as prices continue to rise,” the white paper said.

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