DCLG addresses local housing need

Communities Minister Sajid Javid has announced a new approach to address how many homes each local area needs and how many they will need in future years.

First set out in the government’s housing white paper, the new approach aims to save councils millions of pounds every year and help deliver more affordable homes. New measures, which do not have targets, will help local areas have an open conversation about the number of new homes needed.

It is hoped that the system will make it quicker for each local area to produce a realistic plan of its housing need and review it at least every five years. The Department for Communities and Local Government will them empower councils to work with their local communities to take account of green belt and any other constraints, discuss with adjoining councils, and decide how many homes they can build, and where.

The public consultation launched today will run for eight weeks until 9 November 2017.

Javid said: “As anyone who has tried to buy or rent a home recently would probably tell you, the housing market in this country is broken. The simple truth is that for far too long we haven’t built enough homes and we don’t build them quickly enough. It’s time to fix that. This new approach will cut the unnecessarily complex and lengthy debates that can delay house building. It will make sure we have a clear and realistic assessment of how many new homes are needed, and ensure local communities have a voice in deciding where they go.”

Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said: “There could be benefits to having a standard approach to assessing the need for housing, but a formula drawn up in Whitehall can never fully understand the complexity and unique needs of local housing markets, which vary significantly from place to place. It is crucial that councils and communities can lead new development in their areas.

“Our residents are clear – new homes in their communities have to be affordable, high-quality, and supported by adequate infrastructure and sustainable local services. The only way to do this is to make sure that councils, who are closest to the communities they serve, have the powers and funding they need to deliver homes that are right for their local area.

“This means powers to make sure developers build out approved homes in a timely fashion, adequately funding planning departments so that they can cover the cost of processing applications, and freeing councils to borrow to build quality new homes communities want and need. Ultimately we need a renaissance in council house building if we’re to deliver the affordable homes this country needs – national ambitions will not be realised without new freedoms and powers for councils.”

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