Last Thursday (23rd April) I gave a presentation to the Hove Civic Society on the supply of affordable housing to buy and to rent in Brighton and Hove. I have prepared four bite size summaries of my presentation:
- The scale of the problem
- The need to build build build
- The economic consequences of current housing policy
- The need to end, not extend, the Right to Buy.
Yesterday I posted about the scale of the problem. Today, the need to build build build:
In a recent debate on housing broadcast on BBC Sussex one contributor asked: “Who will have the guts to build on the greenfield?”.
Of course people are concerned about the countryside, and people like me can be accused of wishing to concrete over the south east. In case we forget, all developed areas were once countryside but were developed to meet housing need.
If you have ever flown into Gatwick, you can’t have failed to notice the number of golf courses in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent. The defence of the countryside is often more about protecting golfers!
89% of land in England and Wales is still green, completely undeveloped. If we developed all the homes we need to meet current need, and then did the same again, more than 88% of England and Wales would still be green.
Of course we must build on brownfield sites, but they are just a small part of the answer.
I would want to qualify my call to build build build: I have no interest in building more homes for the DfL’s – those moving Down from London. And I think the increasing practice of Buy to Leave (where investors leave homes empty before profiteering from increases in capital values) is an abomination and should be outlawed.
I would want to see 80% of new build homes reserved for rent. The scale of the crisis requires extraordinary measures and incredible courage by politicians.