Councils cut building goals as central targets axed
Local authorities in England have cut their house building goals by 13 per cent since the abolition of regional targets, with further reductions expected to follow.
Analysis from the annual Housing the Nation report shows local authorities have cut their building targets from 185,000 homes a year to 160,000. This figure is expected to fall further as more local authorities confirm revised goals.
The government scrapped regional spatial strategies containing the building targets in July 2010.
The report, which is put together by a group of property experts led by Tristan Fitzgerald Associates and BNP Paribas Real Estate, suggests even this lower goal is unlikely to be met in the short term, with completions for 2012 predicted to come in at under 100,000 homes.
Last year’s Housing the Nation report came to similar conclusions, although the figures used this year are more accurate because more local authorities have confirmed their goals.
Figures suggest more than 230,000 new homes are needed each year to keep up with demand.
Tim Cann, head of residential at BNP Paribas, said: ‘With more than 1.8 million households on council waiting lists for new homes, the third Housing the Nation report revealed that the government is again on track to miss its targets, by a worryingly large number.
‘As the UK continues to lack the new housing it requires, effective changes need to be made in order to accommodate those still waiting for affordable housing.’
The report calls on the government to introduce a range of measures to tackle the problem (see box, below).
BNP Paribas consulted 291 local authorities over the effects of scrapping the regional spatial strategies.
Communities and Local Government department figures out in May showed housing starts in England fell by 11 per cent from 27,240 homes in the last quarter of 2011 to 24,140 in the first quarter of 2012. Housing association starts went down from 5,010 to 3,950.
- Release green belt land in the constricted south east and pump prime development in the north
- Publicise league tables on housing targets and delivery by local authorities with penalisation for those falling below
- Public and private sector initiatives needed to tackle restrictive mortgage conditions
- Plan makers and developers to be more creative in the way they engage with communities and young people to outweigh the anti-development groups within these local communities
- Community infrastructure levy money raised to be spent quickly and visibly on community facilities to secure community buy-in to new development in their areas
- Planning application fees should be increased but on the provision that the quality and speed of service is made better in return
- Create special ‘development projects team’ within the government to prevent major schemes being stalled by burdensome local demands