Talking at a meeting of the TCPA New Communities Group, a group of local authorities and development corporations delivering large scale development, on Wednesday, Sajid Javid MP set out some of the short term and long-term measures the forthcoming Housing White Paper might include.
"The White Paper, that I hope to bring out next month, will seek to make sure that we release land in the right places…and include measures to diversify the market – we don’t have enough SME builders – and we must increase the different types of homes, including custom build."
On the issue of the housing crisis he said a solution could only be found if every government department works together.
"We need consensus in Parliament as well. I want to work with the opposition on this. It’s a big challenge and it’s about time we did something much more radical in this space.
He added: "I need the help of the New Communities Group, TCPA and other organisations to give your ideas and thoughts"
Javid outlined a £3 billion Home Building Fund to help small family firms to build 25,000 new homes by 2020 and up to 225,000 in the longer term and a separate £2billion loan fund for 15,000 more new homes by 2020 on surplus public sector land, at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month. Chancellor Philip Hammond also revealed planning rule changes to drive more building on brownfield sites.
Members of the TCPA – The Town and Country Planning Association - are local authority planning departments and development corporations planning and delivering exemplary large-scale new communities, from Garden City-inspired new towns and villages to urban regeneration and extension schemes.
TCPA interim chief executive Hugh Ellis said: "I am delighted Government recognises the important role of the TCPA New Communities Group. It is critical that Government reinforces the need for quality and inclusion, as well as housing numbers. The forthcoming Housing White Paper provides a once in a generation opportunity to create the kind of places the nation so desperately needs."
The briefing was hosted by Mark Pawsey MP for Rugby and Bulkington at Portcullis House. Also speaking was Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, shadow minister for local government and housing, who said "Housing numbers are important but it’s the type and quality of development that matters. Good quality development can help to get buy in from local people… the garden city principles provide a framework for this".
Also at the event, Louise Wyman, responsible for Garden Villages, Towns and Cities at Homes and Communities Agency outlined the Government’s plans for Garden Villages, and the Leaders of the NCG councils shared their ambition and experience of delivering comprehensively planned, sustainable growth at the local level, and highlighted the significant amount of progress that continues to be made.
MPs sitting on the Communities and Local Government Committee touched on housing and green infrastructure at the first oral sessions of the current parks inquiry, also held at Portcullis House on Monday.
Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss asked if there was too much focus on housing and not enough on parks. Vice-chair of The Parks Alliance Sue Ireland said that green infrastructure was crucial and should be included at the planning stage but its importance was little understood.
The TCPA is holding its annual conference entitled 'Time for a new planning system?' on 24 November, the day after the Housing White Paper is expected to be released.