Affordable Homes Must Be Top Priority – George

Posted on: 20th May 2011

This article was originally posted on 14.06.2010.

Local MP, Andrew George, will speak at a House of Commons event this afternoon where he will call on the Government to make sure that housing need is given the highest priority.??

The event organised by the National Housing Federation (the national grouping of housing associations) has been given much publicity over the weekend as the Federation has warned the Government that its combination of financial cutbacks and changes to the planning system could be “catastrophic” for those seeking affordable homes. They have warned that house building in Britain will “fall off a cliff” this year.??

However, Mr George who will speak at the event with the Federation’s Chief Executive – David Orr – and former Housing Minister – Rt. Hon Nick Raynsford MP (Labour) – will argue that strong planning controls are necessary to meet affordable need.??

Mr George, who led a housing debate in the Commons last week, said:??“The Government was right to end the top-down imposition of high housing numbers through the Regional Spatial Strategy and to give local authorities the power to make those decisions themselves. Cornwall is a classic example which proves that that approach does not work.??

“Cornwall’s housing stock has more than doubled in the last 40 years. In fact it is one of the fastest growing places in the UK. Even so, over that time, the housing problems of local people have got worse. Therefore, simply building tens of thousands of more homes is not always the answer. It is also a question of what kind of housing you build and where. Turning places like Cornwall into a developers’ paradise has not helped local people in need.??

“Restricting housing development in many areas to just developments which will meet a local need in perpetuity will bring land prices down and deliver more affordable homes. The Government must give local authorities the tools to deliver affordable homes rather than coming up with high house building numbers which increase the ‘hope value’ on virtually every piece of potential development land.”