Labour pledges new generation of new towns and garden cities

Labour's 'mini housing manifesto' outlines Labour's plans to significantly increase housebuilding.

CGI of the vision for Ebbsfleet Garden City. Could there be more under Labour? Image: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
CGI of the vision for Ebbsfleet Garden City. Could there be more under Labour? Image: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Plans to start work on a new generation of new towns and garden cities within the next Parliament, support councils to require more affordable homes through the planning process and give town halls new powers to speed up housebuilding have been unveiled by the Labour Party.

mini housing manifesto, launched on Tuesday by Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey, says that, if elected, the party would start work on a new generation of new towns and garden cities "within the next Parliament, delivered by New Homes Corporations based on reformed new towns legislation".

The manifesto adds that the party would "consult widely with local areas on the best location for new settlements, and explore the potential for urban extensions to existing towns and cities".

Labour would begin consultation on a new generation of new towns within a year of taking office, the document says.

The document also repeats pledges made in Labour's main manifesto, including that a Labour government would establish a Department of Housing and build 1000,000 new "genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy" a year by 2020.

"Ministers will be challenged at each step by a new OBR-style Office for Housing Delivery - an independent auditor of housebuilding projections, delivery plans and progress against government targets," the document says.

A Labour government would set the new department a target of building at least one million new homes in England over the course of the next Parliament, the manifesto says.

"We will set a further target that by 2022 we will reach and then sustain housebuilding at a level of 250,000 homes a year," the document adds. This is in line with a commitment contained in the Conservative Party's election manifesto.

The document says that, within a year of taking office, a Labour government would publish a Housing and Planning Bill "setting out the legal changes needed for our programme, including new powers for local authorities, updated new towns legislation and new rights for private renters".

Revised planning rules and guidance to support the delivery of more affordable homes through the planning system would be published within the first year of a Labour government, the document adds.

Healey said that the proposals represent "a bold, long-term plan for housing to help those being let down most by a broken housing market and failing Conservative policy – young first-time buyers, private renters and people needing new social rented homes".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added: "A Labour government will start on fixing the housing crisis immediately. High prices, excessive rents and the chronic lack of affordable housing are ruining the lives of young people, families and aspiring homeowners."

This article first appeared on the Planning Resource website


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