Is the government’s £1m new homes by 2020 target achievable?

The government pledged in the recent Housing and Planning Bill that it would build a million new homes by 2020, a target that property developer Richard Carr felt was slightly ambitious.

Achievable

Richard Carr 200,000 homes image

Is the government’s target achievable?

However, land agent Aston Mead has hit back at doubters claiming that the target is based on current figures and is a reality.

In contrast, a recent survey of owner and directors of 389 house builders across England found that a small majority (51%) thought that the target would not be met.

Current output of homes is increasing rapidly, with build rates on large sites doubling since 2010. There were more than 180,000 new homes delivered in 2014/2015, with this year’s figure expected to be higher still.

Planning

Aston Mead land planning director Adam Hesse was confident that the target could be met if certain policies were introduced.

“A million homes by 2020 is perfectly possible as the Home Builders Federation have stated quite clearly. But it will need conviction and commitment, as well as further government policies in favour of development, and help to speed up the planning process.

“By 2019 the big companies will be building double what they did six years ago. Now we need to speed up the momentum even further, so that we ensure we reach the target of one million new homes by 2020.”

Brownfield

Hesse believes that councils show review their planning application process and the conditions attached to planning which represent such a major challenge for developers. Plus they need to streamline their planning processes and improve communication so that once approved, building can get underway quickly.

“Several significant advances have happened already. Brownfield sites will now automatically be approved for building, with £10 million worth of funding to help local authorities prepare them. There are also plans to relax the planning rules for smaller house builders, enabling them to gain automatic planning permission on suitable sites. And changes to the section 106 agreement will enable developers to provide affordable homes to buy, instead of affordable homes for rent,” Hesse explained.