Monday, 27 February 2017
Housing White Paper
Readers may be wondering why there has been such a deafening silence on my part since the publication of the Housing White Paper, while other planning professionals have busied themselves in publishing briefing notes and organising seminars left, right and centre.
However, the plain fact is that this was only a White Paper – a statement of various aspirations on the part of government, some of which may be realised in due course while others are quietly forgotten. I really see no point in wasting time on the White Paper itself, preferring to comment on particular changes in planning law and procedure when they come forward in due course.
Meanwhile, I remain sceptical of the government’s stated aim of building a million new homes by 2020. This would require an annual completion rate as high as, if not higher than, the building rate achieved under the dynamic leadership of Harold Macmillan as Minister of Housing and Local Government in the early 1950s, which included a substantial proportion of publicly funded social housing [“council houses” – remember them?]. Does the government seriously expect the private sector now to match that building rate without such a significant public sector input? Let’s be realistic – it simply won’t happen.
© MARTIN GOODALL