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The previous draft GMSF had a timeframe up to 2035, not 2037 as per the new draft. This in itself has impacted the numbers due to relatively high (but not high enough) delivery in the intervening years between the 2 drafts.
1. It is impossible to be against ensuring that there are enough decent and affordable homes for all. However, laying on more greenfield land (including Green Belt) – the conventional wisdom that informs current policy (and underlies this blog) – is mistaken.
2. 90% of newly-forming households over the next 20 years are currently under 25. The real crisis of housing need is not the rate of new home building but the widening gap between young workers’ incomes and the general level of house prices. This means that younger households face longer or even indefinite delays in finding a home.
3. An increase in construction of new housing will meet only a very small proportion of these needs directly (even with Help to Buy and Planning Obligations for affordable homes). And if more new building really did reduce the general level of prices (eg through ’trickle down’), new building would stop.
4. The turnover of existing homes delivers 10 times more housing choices than new build. For young, newly-forming households (in particular) the price and quality of the cheapest existing stock is what really matters.
5. The GMSF proposals would greatly increase the amount of housing land, but the additional housing would be unlikely to be viable if required to make provision for non-market housing, as well as necessary services and infrastructure.
6. The diversion of limited public funds to service new housing areas would be particularly damaging to the quality of life in precisely those areas most likely to be affordable to new households.
7. The housing that does get built in such circumstances is that least likely to meet needs of new households, while being most likely to undermine their prospects in the second hand market, and most likely to destroy any prospect of ‘sustainable development’.
8. During the currency of the ‘Brownfield first’ policy at national level (1997-2007), the proportion rose from 54% to 72%, and at the same time the forward supply of further brownfield housing sites rose from 28,000 to 31,000 ha.
9. Brownfield land is not a finite stock, a stop-gap which will therefore be exhausted, as stated by this blog. It is a flow which can be exploited and increased by relevant policies – particularly urban regeneration (including brownfield use).