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13.09.12

No shortage of land for homes – Policy Exchange

Green belt land should be freed up to provide new housing, think tank Policy Exchange has suggested. A new report – ‘Why Aren't We Building Enough Attractive Homes?’ – also criticises the current planning system as “deeply flawed”.

The report suggests that releasing 2% of green belt land could allow up to 8 million new homes to be created. Policy Exchange, usually seen to be Conservative-aligned, argues that residents should be compensated, and their concerns acknowledged.

Author of the report, Alex Morton, writes: “Just 6-10% of England has been developed and only 2.3% has been ‘concreted over’. We can see there is no overall shortage of land, given, for example, in Oxford a hectare of land costs £20,000 for agricultural purposes but £4m for homes. It is artificial scarcity created by planning we are concerned with.

“Releasing just 2% of our land would allow 8m family homes. There is a myth we have lots of brownfield land. Such derelict land exists for 1m homes but this is only a few years’ supply, and is in areas we need it less. London has such land for just 30,000 homes.

“The legitimate fears of nimbys [not in my back yard] must be acknowledged, rather than nimbys being insulted. Quality must rise to the fore.”

The planning system has been criticised, as councils currently control the use of land. Morton added: “The current model can never build enough homes over time. It needs to change.”

The report is at: www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/why%20arent%20we%20building%20enough%20attractive%20homes.pdf

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