Thursday, 21 September 2017 21:27

Rural group speaks out on housing

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural group speaks out on housing

A focus on meeting market demand is failing to provide homes people need, say rural campaigners.

The government's failure to prioritise genuine local needs will perpertuate the housing crisis, says the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Current methods used by councils plan for local housing – and what is being built as a result – are examined in a new CPRE paper.

It finds that ‘housing need’ and ‘housing demand’ are being conflated in planning policy.

The result is that sheer numbers matter more than type and tenure of housing, says the CRPRE study.

The CPRE says it had hoped that the government’s new consultation on housing - Planning for the right homes in the right places - would clearly distinguish between genuine local needs and market demand.

In calling for a standardised approach to identifying the needs of different social groups, it says the government took some steps towards this.

But the CPRE warns that the general thrust of the government’s plans was to argue that high-demand areas will have to accept more homes to improve the affordability of the housing market.

The CPRE says it sees this as neither building the right homes, nor building them in the right places.

It argues that the likely result is profitable executive homes built on precious countryside in south-east England, rather than building what communities across the country actually need.

CPRE housing policy adviser Trinley Walker said: 'Ministers have for too long shirked the responsibility to make sure we are building the right mix of housing across the country, including homes for first time buyers to social homes to rent.

"Flooding the market with executive homes in the Home Counties will do little to help a young family in Lancashire find a home to rent.

"We need to be clearer on what we are building and where, for young people and families and for our countryside.

"Continuing to conflate demand and genuine needs will simply perpetuate this ruinous housing crisis."

The CPRE says the government could and should tackle the housing crisis more effectively by splitting need and demand.

It calls for clearer definitions of ‘need’ and ‘demand’ to be applied to planning policy, and for councils to apply them to their housing targets and local plans.

If the market cannot meet genuine local needs, CPRE believes that councils should be empowered by government to buy land for new affordable housing.

The CPRE defines housing ‘need’ as the number of homes required to house local citizens adequately, based on price, size and suitability.

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