The government are now taking the right steps to improve the housing situation in England.

Monday 13 July 2015  / Ruth Montia

Legs Following an Arrow in the Sand

Proposals made last week by Chancellor George Osborne’s to help improve housing building totals through alterations to the planning system have pleased some estate agents.

Last week’s budget announcement by George Osborne regarding residential developers, could get automatic and definite planning permission to build on some disused brownfield sites in England.

He has made new powers to make disused land of all types become available for potential development and said that rules on some extensions in London were to be relaxed.

Agencies that are happy with the changes have expressed their views:

Hunters Property Group Managing director, Glynis Frew says Osborne “hit the nail on the head, this will undoubtedly create a lot more movement at all levels in the market and will not only create new homes but also a number of new jobs in the housing and construction sector.”

Director Adam Hesse at Aston Mead Land & Planning says: “Land which has previously been developed but is vacant or derelict is ripe for constructing some of the 240,000 homes a year this country so desperately needs. If implemented, these latest proposals should go some way to addressing the chronic shortage of supply.”

Paul Smith, the chief executive of Haart, says “finally the country is taking proactive steps toward getting Britain building again….tax breaks for house builders would also encourage more building.”

Stirling Ackroyd Estate Agents’ managing director, Andrew Bridges, describes the policy initiatives as “the change that London needs”. This is due to only 5,420 new homes being completed in the first quarter of 2015 when the reality is that the capital requires a 160% increase in the rate of finished homes to house its fast increasing population.

Some agents do feel there is more to be done by our government:

Nicholas Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff believes “The Government needs to ensure that these sweeping reforms do not get obstructed by the detailed negotiations which surrounds any planning application. Delays are often more about roads and communal facilities as the level of housing. These are all important elements in creating new communities and must be factored into the promised changes”.

Justin Gaze of Knight Frank highlights that “Policymakers still fail to address the fundamental issue of development capacity across the industry and the increasing cost of materials. From bricklayers to site managers, the lack of skilled construction workers and professionals in Britain is one of the largest factors that continues to constrain the supply of new homes. Until this is addressed, it is unlikely we will see a marked change to development volumes”.

It may have taken a while for these proposals to come into play, but they are here now and it is definitely a step in the right direction.