Why don't councils redevelop empty houses before they build new ones?

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Local authorities are granting permission to build new houses to meet goverment housing targets when 1000's of homes across the country are sitting empty. Green belt is under threat and local communities are incensed that planning regs are being overridden to ensure housing targets are being met. But this is hardly surprising when local councils are financially incentivised to build new homes but receive no financial reward for identifying & redeveloping houses that are sitting empty. It's about time that goverment encourages the local authorities to do something about this situation by offering the same (or increased) financial incentives to ensure that empty homes are used as a priority over issuing planning permission for new homes. Use existing homes rather than concreting our green spaces.