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Column 17th July 2019

What forthcoming Prime Minister will do on housing need

Our prospective Prime Ministers seem to spend some time talking about housing issues when not discussing “Bxxxxx”.

Jeremy Hunt talks about the ‘Right to Own’. He plans to change the law to let councils and Homes England buy up land and then commission building work to deliver the 1.5 million cheaper properties said to be needed over the next 10 years.

The aim is to target the windfall profits usually made by a property developer when they get planning permission for building homes, which can boost the value of a site by up to 10 times.

Under Mr Hunt’s scheme, councils and Homes England would be encouraged to own land and get planning permission themselves.

After the sites increase in value, a portion would be sold at top price to cover the costs of the scheme, with the land left over used for starter homes sold at affordable prices to young people, or sold profitably to raise funds for help with deposits.

Combined with new planning regulations to allow people to build up, with more storeys on top of apartment blocks, he believes that this will deliver the new homes we need.

Boris Johnson has been less forthcoming on his policies but has pledged to cut stamp duty to get the “locked up” housing market moving and free up homes for first-time buyers if he becomes prime minister.

He described stamp duty as “a problem” which he would address, as he promised to help people on the lowest incomes with a programme of tax cuts and economic reform.

He wants “more, better, housing but not on green belt” and wants to encourage building on brown-field sites through improving transport infrastructure.

Whoever is Prime Minister it probably won’t affect the plans for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Up to a million new homes could be built along the Oxford, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambridge arc with an Expressway and the East-West rail link.

This, together with the plans for additional houses and infrastructure required as part of the £215 million growth deal announced for Oxfordshire could easily require 250,000 new homes in Oxfordshire.

The Oxfordshire Growth plans that are being implemented to 2031 include 100,000 new homes of which around 23,000 will be built in the Vale so the new plans for the Oxbridge Arc probably mean that at least 50,000 new homes will be required in the Vale to meet these ambitions.


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