Having spent our centenary year producing policy and research documents that make recommendations to address the national housing crisis, the RTPI is now delighted to be a core partner of Homes for Britain as it launches its nationwide campaign aimed at ending the crisis.
The RTPI’s policy papers acknowledge the multi-faceted, multi-scalar nature of the housing crisis. We make recommendations for changes to a range of areas from community engagement and land assembly, to finance and leadership, and strategic planning, in order to bring forward the ‘missing agent’ in national housing delivery and ensure that more homes are built.
In terms of engaging the community in the planning and development process local councils, practitioners and developers need to do more to ensure that community engagement reaches a wider cross section of the community, including potential future residents, and that pre-application engagement processes and local plan consultation are of a high standard.
We need more transparency in the land market; we are calling for all new land ownership and sales to be registered with the Land Registry so that we can have a comprehensive national database of land.
As the largest land owner in the country the public sector has a duty of care to the public interest. Government departments and agencies should therefore be required to dispose of their surplus land holdings in a way which takes account of the wider community value rather than maximising capital receipts.
In order to facilitate place making rather than just building houses, local authorities, infrastructure providers and government agencies should develop means to pool departmental resources in order to deliver the infrastructure which supports housing schemes.
As part of the decentralisation agenda currently being discussed a place based approach to governance, which grants power and resource to lower levels of authority such as city regions, should be implemented. Devolving power and resource would allow for all of an area’s socio-economic variables to be dealt with in tandem at the local level rather than treating areas such as transport, housing, and public health in isolation via government departments.
We recommend that local authorities form /maintain voluntary groupings at city-region or county scale to agree housing numbers and other matters of strategic importance. In order to facilitate strategic planning between local authorities we believe that post 2015 government needs to back up potential statements on increasing housing supply with powerful effective cross community incentives to local authorities to plan properly for the long term and to plan collectively. It is our view that such incentives would encourage groupings of local authorities to decide on housing numbers and other matters of strategic importance.
RTPI policy and Homes for Britain
The need to rise above the short-termism of political cycles is a common thread running through our work. With that in mind we are pleased to be part of the HfB campaign which asks for politicians from across the spectrum to make dealing with the housing crisis a priority for the next government.
Given the reality of the political landscape, and how crucial it is to get political buy in order to make the structural changes required to solve the housing crisis, it is not enough to write reports. If we are to see real progress and have RTPI recommendations converted into policy it is also crucial to make the RTPI’s voice heard. It is therefore invaluable to be involved in this coalition of organisations under the HfB banner which gives a united voice to the housing sector. Support is now coming from people across the country and we’ve joined forces with organisations from every corner of the housing world. HfB is led by eight organisations: National Housing Federation, Royal Town Planning Institute, Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, Home Builders Federation, National House Building Council, Royal Institute of British Architects, and Residential Landlords Association.
The time has come to end the housing crisis. The General Election 2015 offers the opportunity to show politicians that the public want to see more homes built and actions taken until everyone has a decent affordable home. The RTPI as part of Homes for Britain is asking the next government to publish a long-term plan for housing within a year of taking office that sets out how they will end the housing crisis within a generation. From the RTPI’s point of view this is an opportunity to see our housing policy recommendations being put into action.
The Homes for Britain campaign has six milestones, with distinct activities for each.
1. Party Conferences - September-October
We took the message directly to politicians at the three main parties’ conferences with more than 50 events involving 80 organisations taking place under the Homes for Britain banner. Read more about the success of this milestone.
2. #Housingday - 12 November
Support and join in with #housingday on social media - we’ll focus on what a difference a good home makes.
3. Ho Ho Homes for Britain - 8 December to 31 December
1. Amplifying the message - 50 blogs in 50 days counting down to the rally - 26 January to 16 March
What you can do:
- Suggest a blog for the campaign
- Add your comments to the blogs
- Tweet links to the blogs to your followers.
2. Homes for Britain rally – 17th March
What you can do:
- If you have tickets, join us at the rally
- If not, be there in spirit on social media
3. The Home Straight – after the rally
What you can do:
- Engage with politicians in your area
- Organise a hustings with all the candidates
Joe Kilroy is a policy officer at the RTPI.