Monday, 25 October 2010

INSIDE HOUSING: Planning shake up sees 300,000 homes axed by The Government

4 October 2010 | By Rhiannon Bury

The latest figures from Tetlow King Planning, for the National Housing Federation, suggest the number could reach between 280,000 and 300,000 by this time next year.

The federation blames the government’s ‘dismantling’ of the planning system, which has included scrapping regional spatial strategies and the house building targets contained within them.

Ministers have pledged to build more homes than the previous administration, but the NHF estimates 1,300 planned homes have been scrapped every day since May.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles formally revoked regional targets with immediate effect in July saying: ‘They were a terrible, expensive, time-consuming way to impose house building.’

Tetlow King produced a report for the NHF the same month which said councils had scrapped plans for 84,150 homes as a direct or indirect response to the new government’s policies. Its latest report says: ‘We are now seeing an increasing number of local authorities announcing reductions to the housing targets as each week passes.

‘Looking forward to the next 12 months, we would expect at least 280,000 to 300,000 fewer homes being planned for…This is based on the large number of authorities we still expect to reduce their housing targets.’

Since the planning changes were announced, almost 70 councils have halted progress on development plans, reduced previously planned housing numbers or delayed planning enquiries at appeal.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: ‘The government has said that its housing policy should be judged by whether or not it delivers more homes than the last administration. As things stand the new approach to housing must be judged harshly.

‘Our new research shows it was a mistake to hastily dismantle the entire planning system without setting up an effective new system in its place.

‘The slew of changes to the planning system has sent out a signal to local authorities that building new homes is no longer a priority – that building new homes is a nice-to-have, not a necessity.

‘But with 4.5 million people on waiting lists and 2.5 million people living in overcrowded conditions the building of new homes must be promoted as mission critical.’