On Monday Michael Gove announced that the Government wants to turn their focus to empty retail outlets to help address the housing crisis by converting them into flats to avoid building on the green belt.
The latest announcement comes as the Government aims to deliver a million homes before the next general election, thought to be as soon as next year (2024).
However, the Government’s record for meeting their previous target of 300,000 new homes a year is abysmal, to say the least, and their latest ambitions have been met with criticism, largely due to the fact that the development of commercial premises often yields poor results from a residential standpoint.
Planning Director at Woods Hardwick, Russell Gray said, “A focus on brownfield redevelopment isn’t exactly a pioneering strategy and the task itself is one that comes with a number of complications.
The development economics of brownfield sites are far higher and, as a result, they generally yield a far lower proportion of affordable homes, which we are in desperate need of.
Brownfield redevelopment also tends to mean more flats and apartments and this simply isn’t the type of housing stock that we are short of, we need larger, family suitable homes if we are to make any meaningful headway in addressing the housing crisis we currently face.
All things considered, it’s unclear as to how this latest announcement will help the Government achieve its ambitions of a million new homes over the course of this parliament.
In contrast, Sir Keir Starmer has stated that Labour would give English councils more power over green belt building and so there is now a clear division in the policy position of the two main parties when it comes to meeting housing needs. A division that may well prove pivotal ahead of next year’s general election.”