300,000 New Homes? Free Up The Planning System, Focus on the Customer & Improve Architecture

Earlier this month the Government announced new housing measures to support homebuyers and to help combat the housing crisis by delivering 300,000 homes by the mid-2020s. This news is better late than never given the urgent need to build new homes in line with overwhelming housing demand throughout the UK,particularly in fast-growing city regions such as Cambridge. 

Supporting the aspirations of homebuyers is a responsibility that governments and developers should take seriously. Put simply, people deserve high-quality housing which is why at This Land we have decided to focus squarely on the interests of the customer in delivering the highest–quality, design-led new homes in neighbourhoods carefully crafted to create places where people really want to live, rather than the identikit housing developments that we sadly so often see. The creation of a dedicated New Homes Ombudsman, as announced by the government, is a real statement of intent in this respect as for too long build quality and finish has been compromised to the detriment of buyers.  Quality does not have to be sacrificed in the interests of high-volumes.   As an industry, we need to perform better.  

Criticising successive governments for shortfalls in housing delivery fails to recognise the role that the planning system has to play. Being responsible for housing delivery across 20 plus prospective development sites across Cambridgeshire, I can speak with confidence in saying that a reformed planning system with an emphasis on delivering greater flexibility for both homeowners and developers, should work in speeding up housing delivery by enabling better use to be made of existing buildings and pre-developed land.  

Once the Government consultations come forward, I would expect the responses to echo many of these points.  The new measures must be directed both at freeing up delivery and improving quality of design badly needed if we are to successfully provide the next generation of UK home owners with what they really want and need.  Fingers crossed that the reality meets the rhetoric.