The Government’s removal of Regional Spatial Strategies laying down firm house building targets could see 31,400 fewer homes built, according to a report by investment bank BNP Paribas.
Most of the shortfall will hit the South East and London, leaving the Government’s vaunted localism planning strategy in tatters.
Researchers at the bank’s Real Estate arm argue that giving local residents more say in planning decisions will hinder housing supply as a wave of Nimbyism take hold.
The authors of the report “Housing the Nation” surveyed 291 councils and their housing targets, following the government’s abolition of regional spatial strategies last year.
Since then, half of England’s 291 local authorities have stuck to their targets, which translates into 85,000 new houses a year.
But 12% of local council have cut housing targets, slashing them on average by a fifth in their local areas. Just 2% of councils planned to raise them.
Of the remaining 36% of authorities yet to set their housing targets, nine out of 10 said they would be changing them.
Claire Higgins, head of research at BNP Paribas Real Estate, which led a group of experts together with consultants Tristan Fitzgerald Associates, said that if the trend of a 20.6% cut among local authorities continues at the remaining councils, 31,400 homes will be lost across England each year.
This equates to a 13% fall from previous regional targets, with the south-east worst affected by the cuts.
“The spectre of nimbyism will make it even harder to meet targets,” she said.
The government’s localism agenda will give existing residents more input into planning decisions. The most vocal people in local communities tend to be older and less in need of new housing, while first-time buyers tend to be less vocal, she explained.