New housing numbers leave many unanswered questions, warns CPRE

New data released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the number of new homes created in 2018 -2019, is only one side of the story, warns CPRE, the countryside charity today.

Matt Thomson, Head of Land Use and Planning at CPRE, the countryside charity said:

“The latest government figures for new homes created, both new build and conversions, should be good news for the many households looking to get their feet on the housing ladder, or for those wanting to get into a decent home that they can call their own. However, the headline figure of the number of new homes masks the question of whether those homes are affordable to the people who need them, are of a standard that people would want to live in, or will even be occupied on a permanent basis by anybody.

“The figures also only present one side of the story, demonstrating progress with one government objective – the provision of 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s – but ignoring many other commitments. These include meeting real people’s needs for quality housing and a planning process that puts local people back in control. Consideration must also be given to protecting the Green Belt so people in towns and cities can draw upon its health and wellbeing benefits. Of equal importance too is matching housing development with new infrastructure, reducing reliance on cars and addressing the climate emergency. Quantity is important but so too are these many social, economic and environmental goals.

“That’s why CPRE is calling on all parties to include in their election manifestos a commitment to a well-resourced planning system that empowers communities and promotes development that responds to their needs, including protecting and enhancing the countryside near to where people live, directing development to suitable brownfield sites before considering further greenfield development, and giving back councils control by scrapping the housing delivery test.”