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UK public call for more social housebuilding and investment in local infrastructure

Ahead of the General Election Places for People have conducted new research which shows almost two thirds of the UK population would welcome new housebuilding within five miles of their home.

The UK’s leading social enterprise, Places for People, polled 4,000 people from a balanced mix of housing circumstances, financial income, age and sex to understand what the public want to see from the next government in regard to housing.

low angle view photography of brown house during night time

Experts, who published the research earlier this week, discovered 63% of the people surveyed are supportive of new affordable and social housing in their area, but 58% are concerned about the strain it would put on local services. As a result, 71% claimed there should be more upfront investment in local infrastructure projects, such as schools, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals so they can accompany new properties.

However, whilst the research highlighted what the public want to see from the government it also outlined regional variance in attitudes. Individuals living in areas with higher house prices – such as people from the South East and South West – were found to be more likely concerned about the strain new housebuilding would put on existing services. In contrast, devolved nations were the least likely to be worried about the impact.

Likewise, people who rent were less likely to be concerned about infrastructure delivery (63%) than those who own their own home (76%).

Commenting on the research, Dinny Shaw, head of planning at Places for People, said: ‘There is a clear appetite for not only new housebuilding, but new communities from the UK public.  We want to create thriving new communities, along with community infrastructure, but this cannot be done without deliverable planning permissions.

‘Before we talk about a housing crisis, we have a planning crisis, and it’s getting worse.  Only 21% of Local Planning Authorities adopted a Local Plan in the last 5 years.  In the last 12 months only 10,406 sites were granted planning permission, the lowest number since 2006, and it’s taking an average of 28 weeks for any proposal to make it through the system.

‘Long term, we need a clear framework in place that unlocks more land for new homes and delivers planning consents needed to support future growth in housing delivery.’

Shaw added that in the short-term, ‘we need to see a new government invest in local planning authorities, set a clear direction and policy framework to speed up decision making, and invest to unlock sites that are caught up in viability issues.’

Image: Pasi Jormalainen

More on this topic:

Places for People pen ‘UK’s biggest’ modular housing deal

Places for People chief executive to retire

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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