We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. Less than half the number of new homes Britain needs are being built under this Government. House building is at the lowest level of any government in peacetime since the 1920s and home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years.
I’ve spoken to many young people in our area who have all but given up on their dream of ever owning a home they can afford and call their own. I know that, too often, the local community feels that it doesn’t have enough say over the types of homes that are built and where they should go. We need a plan to change this.
I would like to see local communities given the power to charge developers where planning permission has been given but the homes are not being built and, in the most serious cases, a ‘use it or lose it’ power to compulsorily purchase the site and sell it on to someone who will build those homes.
Giving local councils the power to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ would give the local community the power to make sure that the new homes needed locally get built where people want them, rather than just where developers choose. This way the local community would be able to make sure that there are affordable homes and the essential infrastructure needed, like GP surgeries, green spaces, schools, and roads as part of the development too.
To help people get onto the property ladder, councils could be given the power to reserve at least half of the homes built in the Housing Growth Areas for first-time buyers from the local area, giving them priority access for two months.
For too many people the dream of home ownership is fading fast. This Government has washed its hands of this problem and refuses to act, so we need to tackle the housing crisis and make sure a decent and affordable home is within reach for young people and families.