Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Is Not the Step Change Needed for the Housing Crisis; JENNIFER NYE, of Lichfields, on What New Measures Announced by the Prime Minister Will Mean for the North East and the UK as a Whole

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Is Not the Step Change Needed for the Housing Crisis; JENNIFER NYE, of Lichfields, on What New Measures Announced by the Prime Minister Will Mean for the North East and the UK as a Whole

Article excerpt

Byline: JENNIFER NYE

TO achieve the ambitious growth targets outlined in the North East LEP's economic vision the region needs to be building thousands of new homes every year.

But recent figures show housebuilding in the region is less than half that required to achieve the target of over 50,000 more jobs by 2024.

The latest figures show that just under 5,000 homes were built in the North East in 2017 against a target of almost 8,000. Similar problems are occurring across the country.

In response, Theresa May has announced new measures to tackle England's housing crisis. Launching a consultation on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) the Prime Minister said: "The picture we see today is the result of many failures by many people over many years. Fixing it won't happen overnight. But the size of the challenge is matched only by the strength of my ambition to tackle it."

The planning review is mostly focused on increasing housing delivery and reaching a national target of at least 300,000 homes per year.

Under the proposed changes the Government would introduce a standardised methodology for calculating the number of houses needed in each Local Authority area, alongside a Housing Delivery Test to ensure that they are delivered.

However, the standard calculation results in a significant reduction in the housing requirements of most North East authorities. Lichfields has calculated that this would be a reduction of nearly 1,500 homes annually over a 15-year period. Clearly this would severely restrict the region's ability to achieve the LEP's employment target.

It will require strong and bold political leadership to ensure that the right number of homes are delivered in the right places.

The Housing Delivery test will mean that if a council fails to deliver 75% of their housing requirement a planning application for more houses could be approved even if it didn't accord with the policies of the Local Plan. …

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