Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Housing in a nutshell! (by Lib Dem PPC Sebastian Kindersley)

Many residents have asked us about our policies on Housing; we hope this clear and concise statement will help.

For far too long Britain has built many fewer homes than we need; unless we build enough to meet demand, year after year, we will find housing costs rise further out of reach.

That is why we have set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of house building to 300,000 a year. Within the first year of the next Parliament, we will publish a long-term plan that sets out how this goal will be achieved. Our plans will include:

  • At least ten new 'Garden Cities' in England, in areas where there is local support, providing tens of thousands of high quality new homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport. We will encourage rural local authorities to follow these principles on a smaller scale, too, developing new garden villages or suburbs as part of their plans for growth.
  • Up to five major new settlements along a "Garden Cities Railway" between Oxford and Cambridge. This will be subject to communities deciding for themselves to put forward their names for Garden City Status and will not be imposed upon them.
  • Ambitious targets for development on unwanted public sector sites through the Homes and Communities Agency, with local authorities given new powers to ensure development happens on any unused site in which the public sector has an interest.
  • A review of Compulsory Purchase legislation to facilitate site assembly, including for Garden Cities. We will also pilot techniques for capturing the increase in land values from the granting of planning permission, helping to deliver our Garden Cities.
  • A government commissioning programme to boost house building towards our 300,000 target; where the market alone fails to deliver sufficient numbers, government agencies will directly commission homes for sale and rent to fill the gap. We are already piloting this direct approach in Cambridgeshire.
  • A new government-backed Housing Investment Bank to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and help attract finance for major house building projects."