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PR 20 - Tackling the house price crisis needs multiple solutions - not knee-jerk reactions

07 June 2007

The Royal Town Planning Institute, representing over 20,000 planners, has reacted strongly to press reports of the initial work of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, which is due to be launched today, June 7. The factors restricting land supply are more complex then the report supposes and include, the economic model of the house building industry, availability of skills, and the lending policies of building societies, amongst others.

Kelvin MacDonald, RTPI Director of Policy and Research said: \"we fully concur with the desperate need for housing to be more affordable but we are dismayed that, in the first utterance of this supposed independent body, it appears to put forward the simple knee jerk reaction that planning needs to release more land. This issue is much more complex than such rhetoric assumes and it demands a more sophisticated analysis than the new Unit appears to be engaged in.\"

The RTPI believes there are a wide range of factors that need to be taken into account in devising solutions to this crisis. The reports of the Unit's initial findings do not demonstrate an understanding of:

  •     the lending policies of building societies;
  •     the availability of skills and capacity in the building industry;
  •     the willingness or otherwise of the industry to build at a rate that will reduce their unit cost;
  •     the role of housing in an investment marketing which many other forms of investment show much lower returns;
  •     the need to assess the impact of housing on local areas and, above all, the fact that new housing makes up a very small portion of the overall housing market.


New research to be published by the RTPI at its National Convention next week will help to inform this debate by exposing figures on land use – or rather the lack of it – by major house builders.

The RTPI does agree that there is certainly the need to ensure there is sufficient land available to meet the need for housing and is keen to continue to work with Government and with the new Unit to ensure planning delivers this.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Andrew Kliman, Communications Manager, RTPI on 020 7929 9479

Notes to Editors:

1. RTPI: The Royal Town Planning Institute
The RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners worldwide, with over 20,000 members.

The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865