Yesterday saw the publication of the much anticipated Government housing strategy. With the economy faltering and the debates over the planning reforms still at large, the report aims to set out a “radical new strategy to reignite the housing market and get the nation building again”.
It is good news for everyone that the Government is trying to sort out the country’s housing problems. And that they are doing so with a localist approach.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, responded by stating that:
“Having identified keys to unlocking housing shortages, the question the Government must now answer is where best to invest to meet the needs of the nation. We see a golden opportunity to drive forward an urban renaissance alongside sensitive, locally-driven evolution of rural areas.”
The opportunity to build ‘complete communities’ is now before us. Places people want to live and work in, where facilities, green spaces and infrastructure are provided alongside housing. This is the smart growth the country needs.
Another step in the right direction is the Government’s commitment to improving the quality of development, particularly for large-scale housing schemes.
The Government’s intention to require local authorities to reconsider Section 106 agreements is an issue. As always, the Trust will be looking very carefully at the proposals to make sure this won’t lead to inappropriate, poor quality development.