The government’s attitude of “Nanny knows best” has “squandered another opportunity” to make a real difference to the housing crisis, according to one estate agent whose views on the Housing White Paper have been echoed by others in the industry.
Jeff Doble, chief executive of London agency chain Dexters, says many of the measures announced yesterday afternoon are plain wrong.
“Once again, this is too little too late. Tinkering around the edges, rather than dealing with the causes for the slow rate of new build - the planning system, associated charges and stamp duty. It is impossible that these measures will create the step-change that the Government says it needs to reach its 2020 target of one million new homes” he says.
“The government has thrown in the towel on Britain as a nation of home owners. The emphasis on help for people renting their homes is positive, but is in apparent contradiction with the three per cent stamp duty surcharge introduced on second homes in April” says Nick Leeming, Jackson-Stops & Staff chairman.
“The change in tone from the Housing Minister heralds the death knell for the flexible ownership model that benefited the baby boomers and Generation X” he adds.
Former RICS residential faculty chairman and London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says many proposals sound good “but we have heard it all before.”
He says what is actually needed is “a strict,verifiable timetable for delivery” as well as, if possible, cross-party support on a plan to build new homes.
“Measures to protect the Green Belt whilst still delivering on the forecasted one million new homes by 2020 do seem to be at odds with one another“ says Jon Jennings, director of Cheffins agency in Cambridgeshire.
All 29 policies outlined in the White Paper are here:
1. Making sure every part of the country has an up-to-date, suf ciently ambitious plan so that local communities decide where development should go;
2. Simplifying plan-making and making it more transparent, so it’s easier for communities to produce plans and easier for developers to follow them;
3. Ensuring that plans start from an honest assessment of the need for new homes, and that local authorities work with their neighbours, so that difficult decisions are not ducked;
4. Clarifying what land is available for new housing, through greater transparency over who owns land and the options held on it;
5. Making more land available for homes in the right places, by maximising the contribution from brown eld and surplus public land, regenerating estates, releasing more small and medium-sized sites, allowing rural communities to grow and making it easier to build new settlements;
6. Maintaining existing strong protections for the Green Belt, and clarifying that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances when local authorities can demonstrate that they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identi ed housing requirements;
7. Giving communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing to drive up the quality and character of new development, building on the success of neighbourhood planning; and Making better use of land for housing by encouraging higher densities, where appropriate, such as in urban locations where there is high housing demand; and by reviewing space standards;
8. Providing greater certainty for authorities that have planned for new homes and reducing the scope for local and neighbourhood plans to be undermined by changing the way that land supply for housing is assessed;
9. Boosting local authority capacity and capability to deliver, improving the speed and quality with which planning cases are handled, while deterring unnecessary appeals;
10. Ensuring infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time by coordinating Government investment and through the targeting of the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund;
11. Securing timely connections to utilities so that this does not hold up getting homes built;
12. Supporting developers to build out more quickly by tackling unnecessary delays caused by planning conditions, facilitating the strategic licensing of protected species and exploring a new approach to how developers contribute to infrastructure;
13. Taking steps to address skills shortages by growing the construction workforce;
14. Holding developers to account for the delivery of new homes through better and more transparent data and sharper tools to drive up delivery; and
15. Holding local authorities to account through a new housing delivery test.
16. Backing small and medium-sized builders to grow, including through the Home Building Fund;
17. Supporting custom-build homes with greater access to land and nance, giving more people more choice over the design of their home;
18. Bringing in new contractors through our Accelerated Construction programme that can build homes more quickly than traditional builders;
19. Encouraging more institutional investors into housing, including for building more homes for private rent, and encouraging family- friendly tenancies;
20. Supporting housing associations and local authorities to build more homes; and
21. Boosting productivity and innovation by encouraging modern methods of construction in house building;
22. Continuing to support people to buy their own home – through Help to Buy and Starter Homes;
23. Helping households who are priced out of the market to afford a decent home that is right for them through our investment in the Affordable Homes Programme;
24. Making renting fairer for tenants;
25. Taking action to promote transparency and fairness for the growing number of leaseholders;
26. Improving neighbourhoods by continuing to crack down on empty homes, and supporting areas most affected by second homes;
27. Encouraging the development of housing that meets the needs of our future population;
28. Helping the most vulnerable who need support with their housing, developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future; and
29. Doing more to prevent homelessness by supporting households at risk before they reach crisis point as well as reducing rough sleeping.