White Paper-FREE Zone (almost)
This week saw the biggest shift in UK politics in a generation. Did you miss it? Mrs Thatcher famously said: ‘You turn [U-turn] if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’
And how about Mrs May? Is she sticking to her predecessor’s vision of a home-owning, shareholding nation? Read on and make your own judgement.
This week’s White Paper put the kibosh on the first aspiration – home-owning will remain a distant dream for almost everyone under-30. That Holy Grain of planning – the NPPF – is to be revised to give more weight to Build-to-Rent.
And the market has been quick to respond. That same day, Quintain announced that its 3,000 homes around Wembley Stadium will be for the rental market. I suppose, if you can’t sell ‘em, you may as well rent ‘em.
There is no point blaming lack of supply, the planning system, greedy developers’ land-hoarding (as if), Nimbys, the Green Belt, or anything else. The system is broken from head to foot and it’s time to face up to it. Sajid Javid, the DCLG Secretary, has bravely admitted it. About time too from all parties.
The solutions have to be radical and the White Paper shows no sign of this. The Green Belt is still protected with ‘exceptions’. Why? Let’s have a good review and get rid of the scraggy bits – and there are lots of them – that no one wants.
Where are the new towns like Milton Keynes now celebrating its 50thanniversary?If we want to get back to the house-building boom of the 1960s – 350,000 units a year – radical solutions are essential.
After ten years, house prices are now EIGHT times median incomes – up 3 times. That means that young people can save and save, but they’ll never catch up with the madness that is the housing market, especially in London and the South of England.
And young people are savvy – the number of private renters since 1997 doubled to more than 40 per cent. Why struggle for ten years of misery while trying to save for what is now a chimera or a shibboleth as we say in Clare.
Even with more renting, the fundamentals need to be fixed and we are yet to proactively address these.
I feel a change comin’ on, as Mr Zimmerman sang. And somewhere in Westminster, I hear the sound of skidding rubber as one of the biggest U-turns in recent UK history – as big as Brexit – gets into top gear.
Have a good weekend,
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