Flawed housing targets threaten countryside

10th Dec 2015

CPRE has published a major report, “Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside.”

Based on a thorough analysis of 54 local plans adopted in the last two years, it shows conclusively that the current system is not working either for those in housing need or for communities trying to shape developments in their area.

The plans analysed set housing targets which are, on average, 30% higher than the projected growth in the number of households and 50% higher than the average build rate of the last 15 years.

The Government assumes that the way to get more houses built is to make things as easy as possible for the big builders, including by making the planning system more developer-friendly. The latest of many planning reforms is now being considered by Parliament. As with previous reforms, the new Housing and Planning Bill aims at simplification but risks making the system less clear.
But planning is not the cause of the housing crisis and planning reform is not the solution. In the year to June, 242,000 homes were given planning permission but only 136,000 were started. From 2012 to 2014, 510,000 residential planning permissions were granted for sites of ten units or more, but there were only 348,000 housing starts.

The government has invested vast sums in the housebuilding industry, at a time of national austerity. But the houses the country needs are not being built.
What is happening instead is that more and more greenfield land is being released to meet fantasy housing targets.

To read more, see CPRE Chief Executive, Shaun Spiers' blog CPRE Viewpoint