THERESA May's plans to overhaul planning rules have been dismissed as 'unimpressive' by the council's housing member.

Cllr Eamonn O'Brien suggested that instead of criticising developers for prioritising profit the government should relax restrictions on councils borrowing.

Theresa May spoke today at the National Planning Conference in East London announcing the rewriting of national planning policy in a bid to tackle the housing crisis and make affordable homes more available.

Mrs May said she wanted to do this by streamlining the planning process and freeing up development from 'endless appeals and bureaucracy'.

Cllr O'Brien, cabinet member for housing and finance, said: "I'm very unimpressed by the detail of the speech because it appears to me she's recognising the issues which significantly affect mainly younger generations but the solutions seem to be lying around the edges of planning policy and making lukewarm criticisms of developers for prioritising profit over truly affordable homes.

"If you want to respond the first thing she should be doing is to remove the restrictions on councils so councils can borrow the money to build a new generation of council houses that are truly affordable and not pegged to market rates.

"The benefit of building through local authority is the ability to have a long term business plan recouping the cost of the investment rather than developers who prioritise profits."

The Prime Minister's speech today outlined measures to push developers into building on land instead of holding onto it once planning permission has been granted.

She said: "The gap between permissions granted and homes built is still too large."

The Prime Minister said the government was looking at ways of addressing this gap and stopping developers who prioritise profit instead of the number of homes built. She said: "I will not rule out any options for ending such practices."

Cllr O'Brien acknowledged there were a number of sites in Bury where planning permission had been granted and then extended as developers put off building homes there, something he said was 'frustrating'.

Mrs May's proposals to reduce the housing gap included allowing councils to refuse developers permission based on the number of homes they have built and 'ending the abuse of the viability assessment', something Cllr O'Brien welcomed calling it 'one of the more positive elements of the speech'.

Bury Council requires any large development to include 25 per cent affordable housing but by using a 'viability assessment' developers can often negotiate that number down.

Cllr O'Brien said: "It might not be such an issue if we could build our own but we don't have that ability and we're reliant on the good will of developers.

"It's a lose-lose for us we can't do it ourselves."