Government approach to housing must change says ADEPT3rd May, 2017
Leaders from ADEPT, the Association of the Directors of Economy, Environment, Planning and Transport are calling for a fundamental change in the Government’s approach to housing, ahead of the manifestoes for the coming election.
“It is clear that the concept of relying on the private sector to deliver the much needed growth in housing is not working,” said President, Rupert Clubb. “ For so long the call has been for private developers to stop banking land and start building, but with only 1% of housing coming from new build – clearly this does not stack up.
“It’s time to recognise that this cannot carry on and we need to think differently if we are to address the housing crisis. There is not enough churn in the housing market, so that many people are occupying certain types of houses who might benefit from different accommodation. We are naturally very attached to our houses, but perhaps we have to think more constructively, to help our next generation. It may seem unpalatable, but we are reaching a crisis, not just on the housing front but also on the adult social care front that is simply not being addressed.
“As the numbers of people needing care at home grow, we have to consider the best ways to do this. Family homes are much in demand, but with more and more elderly people remaining in their homes, they are not coming on to the market. Instead, many homes are being modified to keep their older residents safe and secure, which is of course essential, but is it the best use of resources? Could a specially designed home for older residents, with help on standby that enables people to retain their independence and quality of life for longer, be preferable? We need to have that debate.
“So, demanding that the private sector undertakes this is not feasible. It t is time for the public sector to be enabled to step in. The specific challenges of social care and housing are a shared responsibility, and local authorities must be able to plan for plan and build the housing that’s needed. Local authorities are best placed to understand the needs of their communities, to work with developers to free up land, making projects viable and helping to smooth and expedite planning.
That said, we believe that the welfare of the community is paramount so this is not build at all costs. The calibre of developments must be good, but it is also important to ensure they can be maintained for the long term to a high standard. Local authorities can help ensure that construction is sustainable, and combined with high quality environments and infrastructure to create truly inviting, thriving and dynamic places to live. “
ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority county, unitary and metropolitan Strategic Place Directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.
The ADEPT response to the Housing White Paper is available on the ADEPT website: www.adeptnet.org.uk