The Centre for Cities has published a new report on the housing crisis, stating that Britain has a backlog of 4.3million homes. To remedy the situation it calls for the introduction of a new rules-based, flexible zoning planning system, supported by an increase in private sector housebuilding

The report found that the missing 4.3million homes, in comparison to other European countries, is the result of our discretionary planning system, with the problem starting with the Town and Country Planning Act in 1947. It found that housebuilding rates fell in England and Wales by more than a third after the introduction of our current planning system, from 2% growth per year between 1856-1939 to 1.2% between 1947-2019.

The report finds that average house prices are more than 10 times the average salary, with vacancy rates below 1%, while rents are inflating at the same time as the space per person for private renters decreases.

The report firmly identifies planning as the culprit, and states that government targets are completely inadequate to address the issue. It calls for government to:

Replace the discretionary planning system with a rules-based zoning system.
Such a system would increase certainty in planning and create a supply of land for development, which is vital for housebuilding by both private and public sectors.

Increasing private sector housebuilding. Given the scale of the issue, we need to significantly increase the amount of private housebuilding in addition to council and social housing.

Andrew Carter, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities, said: “This research shows that UK planning policy has held back the economy for nearly three quarters of a century, stifling growth and exacerbating a housing crisis that has blighted the country for decades.

“Big problems require big solutions and if the Government is to clear its backlog of unbuilt homes, it must first deliver planning reform. Failure to do this will only continue to limit England’s housebuilding potential and prevent millions from getting on the property ladder.”

Read: The housebuilding crisis: The UK’s 4 million missing homes

Share this onShare on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter