To fully resolve this housing crisis requires the following reforms.
To begin, the planning system should be tilted away from its excessively stringent development control method and instead be moved towards a new, open and locally focused, rules-based zoning system, based on ‘types of user’.
I am saying towns and their associated hinterlands should zone all existing and future housing within their administration into the following specific categories:
Owner occupation: (by those working locally or retired)
Affordable to buy: (for those starting off in life and by those working locally)
Private rental: (by those working locally)
Social housing lettings: (by those working locally or retired)
Second homes: (for those not working locally)
If considered advantageous planning-wise, a mix of these user designations, which should be specific to each individual house, might be allowed in the same street or location.
This would give planners, advising and, acting in accordance with democratically elected local councillors, appropriate authority to oversee how the local environment should be developed and nurtured, taking into account present community aspirations.
These criteria should all be enshrined within new and upgraded Neighbourhood Development Plans lasting at least for five years at a time.
Towns and Parish councils which only have the current right to comment on planning applications within their area, should instead be given the power to decide them. This would be an absolute game-changer.
In peacetime (i.e. whilst our country is not at war with another), residential planning consents should be delegated to all local town or parish councils for them to determine, depending upon local housing need.
This way, genuinely democratic decisions may be arrived at using local decision-makers whom are best able to understand what the current needs of the community are at any particular time.
The other primary change must be to improve the way in which houses are actually marketed, by using registered buyer agents instead of estate agents. This equally vital change is covered in detail under the article headed. The House Price Solution.
For more information on the necessary house marketing changes, go to:
How to Improve all local housing markets in England and Wales
Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author of:– The House Price Solution otherwise known as The Hendry Solution.