Rayner right to be ambitious on housebuilding

At UKREiiF, Angela Rayner, Shadow Housing Secretary made several commitments to help solve the UK’s housing crisis including new towns, greater numbers of affordable housing, a return of housing targets and a clear design code criteria.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said:

“Although election season is the time for grand promises, Labour’s clear and sustained signal on housing delivery and planning reform tells voters they are not afraid to be bold.

It is the first clear dividing line between the Conservative government and a party who see themselves as a government in waiting.”

Calling it a ‘local housing recovery plan,’ Rayner said they would focus on stalled sites, give Mayors more tools to deliver homes, see grey belt used and unleash the ‘biggest wave of affordable and social housing in a generation.’

Rayner also announced a New Towns Code and taskforce with the following developer requirements:

  • More social and affordable homes – with a gold standard aim of 40%
  • Buildings with character, in tree-lined streets that fit in with nearby areas
  • Design that pays attention to local history and identity
  • Planning fit for the future, with good links to town and city centres
  • Guaranteed public transport and public services, from doctors’ surgeries to schools
  • Access to nature, parks, and places for children to play.

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy, and Market Insight at the NFB, said:

 “Labour appears to understand that planning certainty means greater development viability. This is good news for the housebuilding industry and placemaking.

Some of Labour’s policies are an undoing of flawed government decisions, such as reinstating the mandatory housing targets which helped deliver 30,000 more homes a year, others are a rekindling of old ideas with a more ambitious twist, such as their new towns policies.

However, if Labour do win the next general election, they will need to talk to the housebuilding industry as often as possible and discover what the barriers to their ambitions are and where the Conservatives’ blind spots exist. A great reason that housing supply has dropped, and the industry is falling apart is because the Government stopped talking to those who are tasked with solving the housing crisis.”

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