PROPERTY developers have been accused of bumping up house prices through speculative land grabs. 

Councillor David Lee, deputy leader of Wokingham Borough Council, met with housing minister and Reading West MP Alok Sharma in September.

Following the meeting he took aim at developers proposing unrealistic builds on unsuitable plots of land, and strong-arming the decision their way. 

“Many developers are hoarding land in Wokingham Borough and making houses more expensive,” Cllr Lee said. 

“As a council, we have approved some 13,000 houses which the developers are simply not building.

“We want to provide more housing, particularly affordable homes for our residents, but what these developers are doing is making houses more and more expensive. At the same time, these developers are exploiting the system to get applications granted for areas where their proposals are not suitable.”

Each year the council falls short of its house building target, a 20 per cent penalty is added to the following year’s target. 

Cllr Lee has pointed to Gladman Development Ltd, which has planning permission for a 250 home build on Finchampstead Road, as one of the companies triggering the penalty by not building in a timely manner. 

In appeal cases such as Gladman Developments Ltd v Wokingham Borough Council in June 2015, developers won appeals by arguing that the council must grant permission because it could not demonstrate a five year housing supply. 

“We are saying change the law so housing that has been given planning permission is taken into account,” he continued.

“Gladman operate all over the country. They boast about the fact that they win 90 per cent of appeals. Generally we are refusing them because they are unsuitable. It is of course a company’s responsibility to make a profit, but they are doing it off the back of a bad law.”

Gladman has been contacted for comment. 

Its website reads: “Gladman is the UK’s most successful land promoter with an unrivalled success rate of over 90 per cent. Our passion to win and ability to create innovative planning solutions are at the heart of what we do.”