Public has little faith in Government to build ‘right homes in right places’

Posted On: 
1st October 2017

With Government planning to increase housing numbers in expensive areas, a public poll reveals little public faith in either Government or large developers to meet local housing needs.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that just 5% of people think that the national Government is doing a ‘good’ job of determining local housing needs. Forty-two percent of respondents, by contrast, believe the Government is doing a ‘bad’ job. 

Of the Conservative voters polled amongst the total sample of 4,931 respondents, just 8% believe the Government is doing a good job. Three percent of Labour voters and 2% of Liberal Democrat voters agree. Twenty-two respondents out of nearly 5,000 rate the Government as doing a ‘very good’ job.

The Government’s recent consultation on housing – Planning for the right homes in the right places – sought to provide a new methodology for local authorities to calculate housing need. One clear intention, publicised by ministers, is to require local councils in expensive areas to set higher housing targets in the hope of improving the affordability of housing in the area.

CPRE is concerned that this process will do little to make sure we are building more of the type and tenure of homes local people actually need, while leading to a further and unnecessary loss of countryside. To many, including CPRE, the reliance on large private developers to build affordable homes in particular has perpetuated the housing crisis. Recent CPRE research has illustrated a dearth of affordable housing in rural areas, with a forecasted shortfall of 33,000 rural affordable homes over the next five years.

The public response to the survey appears critical of large housing developers. Just 11% of respondents consider large developers to be doing a good job of determining local housing needs, while 35% think large developers are doing a bad job. Twenty-nine percent did not know. This compares to 16% who support the efforts of small and medium sized builders, and 17% who are behind housing associations. Just 12% believe that local authorities are doing a good job.

Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:

“The Government’s plans for the right homes in the right places will not and cannot come to fruition if we continue to rely on large developers boosting supply in areas of high demand. This is a tried, tested and simply unsuccessful method, leading to a shortage of the homes local communities actually need and the unnecessary loss of precious countryside.

“If we are to solve the housing crisis, we have to build more genuinely affordable homes, make the most of wasted brownfield sites and force developers to build the right mix of housing across the country.”

The poll found that the most common reasons for supporting new housing was local need for more housing (33%), and the use of suitable sites, such as derelict sites or unused buildings (31%). The most common reasons for opposing new housing developments were increased pressure upon infrastructure and local services (36%), and the loss of green space (30%).