The government's housing white paper was revealed yesterday. Jeff Doble, Chief Executive of Dexters, said: “The stalled sites initiative is misconceived, it is likely to create unintended consequences. This is a classic case of “Nanny knows best”, with the government failing to understand the issues be being too quick to dismiss the views of the industry.
Once again, this is too little too late in my view - tinkering around the edges, rather than dealing with the causes for the slow rate of new build - the planning system, associated charges and stamp duty. It is impossible that these measures will create the step-change that the government says it needs to reach its 2020 target of one million new homes. Brownfield land is often more valuable in existing use than risking the enormous costs, delays and uncertainty of the planning system.”
Over the last three decades, governments of various stripes have promised radical change to solve England's housing crisis and today's White Paper is no exception. The problem is that so many of the initiatives and ideas sold to the country as ground-breaking prove to be business as usual. Labour's shadow housing minister John Healey described them as "feeble beyond belief". Ministers now accept England needs 250,000 new homes every year, they have described the housing market as "broken" and they agree that radical change is the only way to mend it. But many have yet to be convinced that this White Paper amounts to a "realistic plan" to achieve that.