Rural

Chamber reaction to government announcement on house-building

“We recognise that the topic of house-building and how to solve the shortage is a difficult one, and we welcome fresh ideas and initiatives to help tackle it.  It’s a problem that won’t go away and therefore needs government, local authorities and the housing development sector to continue talking and working closely together.  The Chamber is doing that, via our various policy groups that include local authority representatives, and liaising with our national body, the British Chamber of Commerce.

“Building in rural areas is a sensitive topic and we understand why the government wants to shy away from this matter, but refusing the grasp the nettle doesn’t help.  Many city centres might not have some of the supporting facilities and amenities needed to complement city living or, as the LGA has noted, the current empty premises may not convert well into appropriate quality homes.

“Here in West & North Yorkshire, we’re having frequent conversations with the local authorities on the details of their Local Plans, which include land allocations for both housing and employment.  Ambitious development plans and economic strategies need to be underpinned with sound land use and planning, and within our membership we have the knowledge and expertise to help inform decisions being taken on these important issues.”

Mike Cartwright

West & North Yorkshire Chamber

Background/context

  1. Government has said it will relax planning rules to allow more homes to be built in city centres to help meet the housing shortage.
  2. They say it will make it easier to convert empty retail premises and betting shops into flats and houses.
  3. It is a reaction to a Commons housing committee saying that, while ministers are on track to deliver its one million homes target they are not expected to meet other commitment to deliver 300,000 new homes every year by the mid-2020s.
  4. The government recently watered down housing targets for local councils following a fierce backlash from its own MPs, many in rural constituencies.
  5. The announcement has been criticised though. The Local Government Association has warned that offices, shops and barns are not always suitable for housing, and could result in the creation of poor quality homes.

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