Planning minister floats plan for housing land grab

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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The amount of developed UK land must be expanded by a third to tackle the housing shortage.

That is the blunt message of new planning minister Nick Boles who is launching a crusade to tackle nimbyism as the housing crisis deepens and housing starts languish at half the level needed.

The minister will float his radical plans to relax planning for new housing in a Newsnight special programme tonight and a speech to the Town and Country Planning Association.

Boles will blame house builders for much of the present problems for delivering ‘pig ugly’ housing.

He will tell Newsnight: “We’re going to protect the Green Belt but if people want to have housing for their kids they have got to accept we need to build more on some open land.

“In the UK and England at the moment we’ve got about 9% of land developed. All we need to do is build on another 2-3%  of land and we’ll have solved a housing problem.”

A close political ally of the Prime Minister, his comments indicate the Government is preparing the ground to take on the  nimbys.

Over the next decade, the number of households in the UK is expected to grow by about 230,000 annually, but  only 117,000 new homes were built last year.

His comments come after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week unveiled fresh cash to unlock large stalled housing schemes and called for a return to the development of garden cities and suburbs to meet demand for new homes.

As part of the government’s plans, developers will shortly be free to fast-track thousands of big residential applications by putting them to the planning inspectorate instead of the local authority.

 

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