Around 270,000 fewer homes are planned because of the coalition government’s decision to scrap regional spatial strategies (RSS), a report has claimed
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The paper by the right wing think-tank Policy Exchange, which was founded by current planning minister Nick Boles, claimed scrapping the targets could see housebuilding plummet to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.
The Planning for Less investigation found English councils’ housing targets featured 272,720 fewer homes compared to June 2010 when the RSS were abolished.
South West England saw the largest reduction with 108,380 fewer homes planned, followed by the South East where council’s had reduced their targets by 57,049.
Lower targets could result in less land being released for housing, according to the report which called for further planning reform to stem the decline.
Policy Exchange urged the government to convert more brownfield sites into housing. It also mooted increasing the power and number of neighbourhood plans and directly channelling funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy to households affected by new development.
The report’s author Alex Morton said: ‘The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have rightly made it clear that we need to build more homes. Yet the government is on track to preside over the lowest level of housebuilding since the 1920s.’
He added: ‘Relying on councils to expand housing targets was a mistake. However, now the Coalition should focus on fixing the multiple failures with the housing market – not fighting councils. This can help us begin to build the homes we need.’
The Department for Communities and Local Government however rejected the analysis, claiming the abandoned spatial strategies had never worked. It also said housing supply was up 11 per cent on last year and at its highest level since 2008.
A spokesperson told The Guardian: ‘Top-down regional targets didn’t work and built nothing but resentment. It is meaningless to point to targets which were never going to be built. It was under regional strategies that house building fell to its lowest peacetime rates since the 1920s.
‘As promised in the coalition agreement, this government is abolishing the ineffective, unpopular and bureaucratic tier of regional planning. Instead, it is simplifying the planning system and has introduced the new homes bonus to work with local communities, not against them.’
She also said that new housing supply was at its highest level since 2008, up 11% on last year.