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Propertymark Calls for Innovative Solutions to Enhance UK Housing Supply

Propertymark has stepped forward with recommendations urging the UK Government to diversify its approach to increasing the nation’s housing supply, particularly for potential homeowners. Amid governmental efforts to escalate housing construction and ensure environmental conservation, the spotlight has turned to the redevelopment of brownfield sites as a viable solution.

Exploring Brownfield Potential
In a move to bolster the construction of new homes on England’s brownfield sites, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, Michael Gove, revealed plans in February to support local authorities through proposed amendments to planning policies. This initiative seeks to transform brownfield lands into vibrant residential areas, also contemplating adjustments to the Housing Delivery Test and revising criteria for London mayoral referrals.

A Call for a Broader Vision
However, Propertymark expresses concerns regarding the stalled development of over 1.1 million homes already approved for construction. They warn that a narrow focus on brownfield sites might culminate in substandard housing in less desirable locations. Advocating for an “infrastructure-first” strategy, Propertymark suggests that constructing homes alongside essential community facilities could forge thriving new communities.

The organisation also recommends policy adjustments to encourage smaller developers, potentially easing the path for development on compact brownfield plots.

Flexibility and Quality in Housing Delivery
Addressing the Housing Delivery Test — a measure for local authorities to gauge and fulfill housing quotas — Propertymark proposes a more adaptable approach. While supporting incentives for authorities to achieve their housing delivery benchmarks, it argues for alternatives to brownfield development, especially where it might compromise housing quality.

Propertymark emphasises the importance of local decision-making in development strategies to ensure the creation of desirable living spaces. They urge authorities to favor proposals that promise a swift increase in housing supply and to scrutinize developers with extensive pending projects, always with an eye on affordability.

Henry Griffith, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Propertymark, articulates the organization’s stance: “While we are supportive of measures introduced to improve the supply of new homes, especially where it can revitalise brownfield sites, we must avoid the risk of prioritizing poor quality homes. It’s crucial that the drive for quantity does not overshadow the need for quality communities where people genuinely want to reside.”

Landlords play a pivotal role in meeting the nation’s housing needs. As discussions evolve around planning policies and development strategies, staying informed and adaptable is key. Landlords should consider how these changes could affect the rental market, from potential increases in supply to shifts in tenant preferences for newly developed areas. Engaging with local planning developments and exploring opportunities in emerging communities can position landlords to better navigate the changing landscape of UK housing.