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Housing crisis priority over garden grabbing controls

"It is very disappointing that the Government has decided to give priority to the issue of garden grabbing rather than help the thousands of families in this country that need an affordable home. There are over 4.5 million people on social housing waiting lists and thousands more families unable to get on the housing ladder. By further limiting the supply of new housing we are in danger of creating a country of the have and have nots with only the most affluent being able to buy a house."

Berry continued:

"Reclassifying all gardens will inevitably mean even more pressure to build on the Green Belt and the countryside. What is need is a comprehensive review of the planning system to look at how we can allocate more land for housing. We know that there are pockets of land of under two hectares that could address the housing crisis but which are not counted in the official statistics."

Berry concluded:

"With a rising population and house building at its lowest level since 1923 the Government needs to be thinking about increasing the supply of housing rather than decreasing it. A review of all the barriers to house building would have been a better and more constructive start rather than targeting one particular issue which will do nothing to help the majority of people wanting a home. "

In a separate statment Ian Baker, Group Managing Director for Housebuilding at Galliford Try Homes, said:

“Residential development on this classification of brownfield land has been an important part of delivering housing in the South East. It would be naïve to think that this new ruling will somehow open up opportunities for development on other brownfield land which is either not released by the local authority or unviable for use due to the high clean-up costs.

“Minimum density targets should still be in place as guidance to ensure the best use of land in context of the local area and to allow developers to respond to market demand and build the homes that people want to live in.”

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One thought on “Housing crisis priority over garden grabbing controls

  1. Major Landlord says:

    This is a prime example of the very lobbying that I consistently warn against: OF COURSE the FMB wants to build more houses – it’s what their members do. And OF COURSE they want to grab gardens, as they can often buy that land cheaper than larger parcels on the open market. Developers’ spies are constantly knocking on doors, trying to get to juicy little plots before somebody else outbids them. And OF COURSE they want to build in established, often upmarket areas – because that means they can charge EVEN MORE than usual.

    None of this means we should listen to their constant carping about housing shortages, lower rates of newbuilds, increased planning pressures etc. Once again, consider the facts:

    – there are still an estimated 500,000+ empty houses in the UK, largely owned by local councils. Should we not concentrate on bringing these back into use before allowing more new developments?
    – housing policy needs to address and correct the north-to-south population drift of past decades. This has resulted in empty housing in the north, and overcrowding in the south, plus intolerable strain on resources such as schools, water supplies, drainage, roads and public transport.
    – housing needs must be carefully measured and re-defined. The existing figures from councils indicate shortages, but are often based on double-counting of council housing applicants who are already living in private rented accommodation and simply want to transfer. If we build to satisfy all these people, there will be thousands more empty houses all over the country
    – supply and demand must be kept in careful balance. If the market is flooded with newbuilds that are not needed, it will cause a new housing crash like that in Ireland. That will in turn upset the fragile recovery, and tip us back into recession.

    Once again, commercial interests must always be listened to, but with extreme caution and set against a balanced view taken from all related parties. I hope Grant Shapps and co. will not allow themselves to be bullied into doing everything the housebuilders want. Whatever they say, they are ONLY in it for the money, not because they have social consciences and care about first time buyers. And if this governemnt sincerely cares about gtreen issues, they will think twice before allowing any more gardens to be concreted over: they are the lungs of our planet.

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