Recommendations made in our Property in Politics Report, which over 500 RICS members and 273 organisations contributed to, have been adopted in the long-awaited Lyons Housing Review for the Labour Party.
Houses in UK
The Lyons Housing Review has revealed a well thought through, long term plan for housing which should be considered by all parties and implemented now. It makes a number of recommendations that will make a real difference to meeting housing need across the UK.
We particularly welcome proposals for housing growth areas, mandatory local plans and Olympic-style new homes corporations. We held roundtables for the Lyons Housing Review and provided member insight into many topics. Chartered surveyors and RICS member firms have demonstrated their influence in providing real solutions in order to drive economic growth and build better communities.
Labour’s housing growth areas mirror our call for housing zones across the country, allocated by local enterprise partnerships. These would come in three categories – new build, retrofit and affordable – with financial incentives in each to promote mixed-use housing delivery to meet local needs and local economic growth.
We also call on future government to enforce local plans. The Labour Party wants to make it mandatory for local authorities to have a local plan to meet the housing needs of the local community. Where they do not allocate sufficient land or come forward with a plan, the planning inspectorate will have powers to step in and make sure housing need is not ignored.
Given that half of all local authorities are yet to adopt a local plan, we proposed that a future government should make the adoption of up to date local plans compulsory. Local authorities that fail to keep up-to-date plans should be deemed as underperforming and the Planning Inspectorate or Office for Planning (OfPlan) empowered to place them into ‘special measures’ where required.
The Labour Party have recognised our proposal for development delivery units (DDUs)and they intend to give powers to groups of local authorities to collaborate and form Olympic-style new homes corporations to build on designated land at pace. This recommendation was used by the Labour Party in their party conference housing announcement.
Our members called for DDUs to be established and armed with appropriate powers and expertise. They would be jointly financed by both the public and private sector, and charged with fast-tracking the delivery of housing, regeneration and infrastructure projects in specific areas. DDUs must have new and reformed compulsory purchase order powers.
We like to have seen RICS proposals on a resource revolution in planning departments and a single construction finance hub, as opposed to another fund announcement (albeit the welcomed ‘help to build’ fund). Labour’s plans to reserve a proportion of the homes built for first time buyers from the local area is a sensible proposal, but we need to think more widely about the delivery of homes across all tenures.
Incentivising private landowners to release land and freeing up public land will help land supply and, while garden cities are not the silver bullet, they will play a key role. We need to see a well-budgeted plan for providing financial incentives.
To solve the housing issues in the UK we need multiple solutions and this report contains a number of positive recommendations that mirror the views of chartered surveyors in Property in Politics. We look forward to providing expertise to implement these policies.
Property in Politics is a conversation between property professionals and the political parties about building a vibrant property marketplace in the UK. As part of Property in Politics RICS puts forward 12 recommendations that we believe should be implemented by a future Government to make this vision a reality.
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