William Eichler 20 September 2017

Whitehall’s failure to prioritise local housing needs perpetuates crisis, report warns

The Government’s ‘continuing failure’ to prioritise genuine local housing needs over market demand will perpetuate the housing crisis and use up space in the countryside, a new report claims.

Needless Demand, published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), analyses the current method councils use to plan for local housing and what is being built as a result.

It argues planning policy as it currently stands conflates ‘housing need’ and ‘housing demand’, and the overall thrust of the Government’s policy is to build lots of houses in high-demand areas to improve the affordability of the housing market.

CPRE’s report warns this emphasis on demand and numbers rather than on the type of housing and the needs of local areas will ‘likely result is profitable executive homes built on precious countryside in the south east, rather than building what communities across the country actually need.’

‘When the Government talks about meeting housing need, what it really means is catering for market demand in the overheated south east,’ said Trinley Walker, CPRE’s housing policy adviser.

‘Ministers have for too long shirked the responsibility to make sure we are building the right mix of housing across the country, including homes for first time buyers to social homes to rent.

‘Flooding the market with executive homes in the Home Counties will do little to help a young family in Lancashire find a home to rent.

‘We need to be clearer on what we are building and where, for young people and families and for our countryside. Continuing to conflate demand and genuine needs will simply perpetuate this ruinous housing crisis.’

Needless Demand calls for clearer definitions of ‘need’ and ‘demand’ to be applied to planning policy, and for councils to apply them to their housing targets and local plans

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