Local Authorities, typically, have roles to play in terms of Forward Planning and also Development Control. All well, and good.
More recently, however, Central Government has all but got rid of the centralised ideas plan.
Local Authorities are supposed to be coming up with recommendations for site development rather than simply waiting for Planning Applications. They are duty bound to look at it. But are they doing this? Well, not really.
As a nation we have a major shortage of affordable housing. It is widely agreed that we need to build 250,000-300,000 houses a year, every year, as we did in the 1970’s to meet demand. At the moment we’re struggling to build half that number.
But abolishing national and regional planning housebuilding targets makes achieving this all the more difficult. Leaving everything to local decision-making means we’re even less likely to get more houses built. Additionally, leaving it in the hands of these local decision-makers encourages nimby-ism, according to the Town and Country Planning Association. They cite a doubling of legal challenges on local plans by planning inspectors who are picking councils up on not assessing their housing needs properly. There’s a lot of pressure from politicians in certain areas to suppress housing figures.
Difficulties in getting planning permission, a lack of available land and the big house-builders sitting on land to keep prices high are just some of the problems that need to be overcome. These are difficult problems and is seems to me that relying on a local authorities system seems to be allowing the issue to continue. Therein lies the problem for development streams under this current system.
With a general election now over and a majority government in power, will the spotlight fall again on this area? Will the state step in and start building on a major scale again like it did in the 1970’s? Or will they continue to sell-off the few houses we still collectively own? Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see. What I do believe is that we’re likely to have a shortage of housing and high property prices in the UK for the foreseeable future…..
What we need is a new, radical plan to solve our housing crisis, and fast.
Got a view or any radical ideas? We’d love to hear them!