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Housing & Planning Publications
As part of Policy Exchange’s Building Beautiful programme, new polling, in one of the most extensive surveys in years, has revealed the widespread public concern about the impact tall buildings have had on the heritage, character and appearance of London. The survey showed that an overwhelming majority (71%) believe tall buildings should not be allowed to interfere with historic views, with 70% believing they should fit in with their surroundings.
Place matters profoundly to people. We invest more resources in our homes than in anything else, and by some measures we spend more time gardening than we do on any other pastime. This is no less true of our shared home. Protecting the countryside from suburban sprawl has substantial costs in terms of foregone economic growth, but green belts are widely supported, and were introduced only after a huge grassroots campaign for them.
Britain needs more housing. But, so often, local residents justifiably believe that new housing in their area means a loss of public goods and amenities for them. This has led to a zero sum struggle where the debate is over who ought to be a winner and who ought to be a loser. Policy Exchange’s new paper Strong Suburbs cuts through that false dichotomy, providing a mechanism for local residents to benefit from, and control, new development.
This paper’s contribution to the housing policy debate is to outline the policies that are needed on the demand side. Too often, on the demand side, the Government’s policy interventions have resulted in higher house prices, exacerbating the challenge facing buyers. Now, there needs to be a shift away from direct interventions such as help to buy or temporary freezes in stamp duty, says Gerard Lyons.
This collection of essays is published alongside Policy Exchange’s report Rethinking the Planning System for the 21st Century. It brings together economists, architects, urban designers, campaigners, developers, lawyers and researchers to consider how the planning system can be reformed in a way that addresses the challenges of our modern economy and society.
The planning system has little relevance to the country’s 21st century liberalised economy and society facing continuous change. It increases the costs of housing, living and doing business. Although the planning system has regularly been tinkered with in the past few decades, its fundamental principles are the same as when it was established in 1947 as part of a government program to establish a command-and-control economy.
To remain a competitive economy and to address the country’s housing shortage, the planning system is in urgent need of wholesale reform. This report puts forwards a blueprint for doing that.
Many of the most valued and important frontline public sector workers like police officers, teachers, NHS staff and firefighters are struggling to live in or near the community they serve. They often face acute housing affordability challenges which force them to commute from ever further away, particularly in the rental sector and particularly in London and the South East.
In this report we argue the Key Worker Housing initiative should be revitalised as part of reforms to Affordable Housing policy. The Government should announce a new policy programme to increase the stock of homes available to Key Workers struggling with housing costs and update the Key Worker eligibility criteria.
In his first speech as Prime Minister on domestic policy, Boris Johnson said that his Government will, “emphasise the need, the duty, to build beautiful homes that people actually want to live in, and being sensitive to local concerns.”
As the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission enters its second phase – a final report is due by the end of the year – we are publishing this essay collection to provide new and practical ideas for building more beautiful homes and places. The collection brings together thinkers from law, finance, energy and environment, architecture, property, planning and housing.
Unleashing the power of the Union – ideas for new leadership
How policy can incentivise beautiful housing schemes and unlock the building of new homes at the scale required by the housing shortage.