Housing secretary Michael Gove has written to nine councils warning them that they will be stripped of their planning approval powers if improvements are not made.
In letters to nine local authorities and the Peak District National Park Authority Mr Gove told the councils they were at risk of designation under S62A Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
This would mean that applicants could apply directly to the planning inspectorate for planning permission, bypassing the local planning authority.
The councils – Calderdale, Cotswold, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Hinkley and Bosworth, Pendle, Portsmouth, The Vale of White Horse, and Waverly – all fell below the expected approval threshold of 70% between October 2020 and September 2022.
Hinkley and Bosworth Borough Council was the lowest with 46.5% while Cotswold District Council was the highest with 69.6%.
The Peak District National Park Authority was 61.2%.