Building More Homes
Richard Ehrman & Crispin Kelly
In the words of the authors, ‘the British hate housebuilding but love housebuying’. This paradox, they explain, is unsurprising – because of our unduly rigid planning system which has survived broadly unchanged since the days of post-war nationalisation and control. The authors emphasise that ‘the real shortage which bedevils the housing market is one of land with planning permission, and it is most acute in the places people most want to live’. Without a new approach the homes, including low-cost social housing, which the country needs will not be built on the scale that is required.
Richard Ehrman and Crispin Kelly assess John Prescott’s recent proposal for 200,000 extra homes in the South East. His plan reflects the bureaucratic, top-down attitudes that characterise this Government. The pamphlet argues that, while avoiding a planning free-for-all, a policy must be fashioned which gives planners proper scope to make provision for high quality housing that is in tune with local sentiment, introduces more tax breaks for brownfield development, gives real incentives to councils by enabling them to keep the rates and council tax from new development, and boosts low-cost housing.