Saturday, July 13, 2024

UK public want more social housebuilding but call for greater investment in local infrastructure

  • Almost two-thirds of the UK population would welcome new housebuilding, including social housing, within five miles of their home.  
  • Almost three-quarters of people believe there needs to be greater investment in local infrastructure to support building new homes as over 50% of people are concerned about the strain that housebuilding would put on their existing facilities and services. 
  • Data highlights the strain that the lack of supply of homes for rent – private or social – has on people’s perceptions for needing new homes.  

THE incoming Government should prioritise funding mechanisms and unblock the planning system to allow housebuilders to deliver new thriving communities.  

The call comes from the UK’s leading social enterprise, Places for People, who polled 4,000 people across the UK from a balanced mix of housing circumstances, financial income, age, sex and more to understand the public’s aspirations around housing in the run up to the General Election on 4 July 2024. 

The new data shows almost two-thirds of people surveyed (63%) are supportive of new affordable and social house building in their local area, but 58% are concerned about the strain that new housebuilding could put on their existing local services. 

These concerns meant that almost three-quarters (71%) of the UK population believe that there should be more upfront investment in local infrastructure projects, such as schools, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals, for new housebuilding schemes.  

The study also revealed regional variance in attitudes. Those living in regions traditionally associated with higher house prices (South East 67%, South West 66% and the East of England 66%) are more likely to be concerned about the strain new housebuilding will put on their existing services. The devolved nations were the least likely to worried about the impact.  

Finally, people who rent are less likely to be concerned about infrastructure delivery upfront (ave 63%) compared to those who own their own home (76%), and those who live in urban areas (48%) are less concerned than those who live rurally (63%). 

Dinny Shaw, Head of Planning at Places for People: “There is a clear appetite for not only new housebuilding, but new communities from the UK public.  We want to create thriving new communities, along with community infrastructure, but this cannot be done without deliverable planning permissions. 

“Before we talk about a housing crisis, we have a planning crisis, and it’s getting worse.  Only 21% of Local Planning Authorities adopted a Local Plan in the last 5 years.  In the last 12 months only 10,406 sites were granted planning permission, the lowest number since 2006, and it’s taking an average of 28 weeks for any proposal to make it through the system. 

“Long term, we need a clear framework in place that unlocks more land for new homes and delivers planning consents needed to support future growth in housing delivery.   

In the short-term we need to see a new Government invest in local planning authorities, set a clear direction and policy framework to speed up decision making, and invest to unlock sites that are caught up in viability issues. 

“With a growing need for more affordable housing unless we tackle these issues that directly impact supply any incoming Government can say goodbye to their ambitious build targets.  Too many years of talk and little action has led us to this point.  We need to tackle the crisis within our planning departments across the UK and rebalance investment in housing and infrastructure so we can unlock and deliver the homes the UK so desperately needs.   

“The time for talking is over, the time to build is now.” 

Places for People is doing all it can to build the quality homes needed across the UK. It completed 1,750 new homes in the last year, of which 86% are affordable, with 265 available for social rent. A further 1,944 were started in the last year, of which 74% are affordable and 210 will be available for social rent.  

The 60-year-old enterprise is one of the UK’s top housebuilders** and recently confirmed their commitment to helping the UK build more social homes by backing growing calls on Government to deliver 90,000 social homes a year.  

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