Government plan to tackle homes shortage

RURAL leaders have welcomed government plans to tackle Britain's shortage of homes.

Plans to fix what the government described as Britain's "broken housing market" and build more homes across England were announced on Tuesday (7 February),.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says the current system wasn't working and remained one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain.

New measures to ensure the housing market works for everyone – including people on lower incomes, renters, disabled and older people – were set out in a government white paper.

    See also: Landowners outline rural housing 'answers'

It includes a government consultation on the principle of a new, standardised way of calculating housing demand to reflect current and future housing pressures.

Every local area will need to produce a realistic plan and review it at least every five years.

Mr Javid said 40% of local planning authorities did not currently have an up to date plan that met the projected growth in households in their area.

Fixing this will help make sure enough land was released for new homes to be built in the parts of the country where people wanted to live and work.

It would also help to ensure that developments took heed of local people's wishes, while continuing with maximum protections for the green belt.

The Country Land and Business Association building of new homes in rural areas could be boosted by proposals set out in the housing white paper.

CLA President Ross Murray said: "Landowners are a large part of the solution to meeting our country's housing needs, and we welcome the White Paper as a step forward.

He added: "We support the proposed improvements to National Planning Policy, to ensure it delivers the homes that rural communities need urgently."

"Rural areas will benefit from government acceptance of CLA proposals to amend national planning policy so as to promote thriving villages and small scale housing developments."

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said it too welcomed the white paper – in particular its focus on addressing market failure in the house building industry.

CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers praised the document's promise to address failings of the housing market, rather than just meddle with the planning system.

"Builders must build, not just sit on land," he said.

"We look forward to seeing the government's plans to turn unused planning permissions into homes, and brownfield sites regenerated to bring new life to towns and cities."

If the focus was on genuine need, achievable targets and good quality design, and the local environment, homes could be built without "losing further precious countryside".

For those concerned about the countryside, the "acid test" would be the outcome of the consultation on how local authorities should calculate housing need, said Mr Spiers.

Until local authorities were able to set realistic and deliverable housing targets based on genuine need rather than aspirational demand, the countryside would remain under threat.


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.