By Daniel Hunter
Following the publication of the Mortgage Market Review today (Monday) Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, has said that the best way to help house-builders and aspirant homeowners is to allow more houses to be built.
“Real planning reform would kick-start the construction industry and make prices more affordable for young couples looking to own their first home," he said.
"The Government must ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework is not watered down by the efforts of Nimbys to protect the value of their properties. Subsidising 95 per cent mortgages through the NewBuy Guarantee won’t do any harm, but the best way to help house-builders and aspirant homeowners is to allow more houses to be built.”
The number of households in England is projected to grow by 232,000 a year, far outstripping housing construction. In 2009 the UK built 142,000 new properties — the lowest peacetime number since 1924. Compared to genuine planning reform, subsidising 95 per cent mortgages for newly-built homes through the NewBuy Guarantee scheme is a much lower priority.
The IoD strongly supports the National Planning Policy Framework, which will simplify 1,200 pages of planning guidance into one 52-page document. The presumption in favour of sustainable development is the crucial change, and it is vital that the definition of “sustainable development” is not too restrictive in the final NPPF draft.
Another important element to the NPPF is the requirement for councils to identify land equal to 120 per cent of predicted housing need. More houses may be needed than foreseen, and developers need to be able to choose the most desirable locations from a number of options. It is vital that the final draft retains this requirement.
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