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Friday, May 25, 2007
Gateway disarray
Not only is the design bad (at the ‘Middlesbrough level of the Premiership – with some more akin to Watford, without, of course, the same fear of relegation’) despite the threat of Housing Corporation funding being withheld for badly designed schemes. But we should be building at twice the rate we are.

The National Audit Office has published a rather damning report which says that the government is no longer accurately counting the number of units being built, and criticises the DCLG for "having no cost strategy". Hang on a minute - how can it have no cost strategy at all? Apparently they lack "a single costed plan for the programme to join up local initiatives". Forgive me, but that seems to be a basic omission.

So it is business as usual in the marshlands of Essex and Kent - the government playing catch-up to the developers who are racing ahead on their own isolated patches, with a total lack of effective, strategic leadership, no matter what Judith Armitt may be trying to do (and I'm sure her intentions are the best.) There are signs of progress in the London areas where the LTGDC and other agencies seem to now be taking a firmer grip - Design for London flexing its muscles by pressuring Barratt to upgrade its design team quality, as a recent example. But beyond the M25 it is, sadly, another story at present.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jessica Symons said...

Why do we always hear about the need to build and not about the need to stop the buy-to-let frenzy? If more flats were available to buy rather than rent, then would there really be such a demand for new build?

I think the government et al have been tricked into thinking that they need to build more by commercial organisations who will make a profit from the construction and sale of these properties.

What we need is some courage from government bodies to end profiteering from residential property (through legislation of second homes/multiple property ownership). Then let's see how many new properties we really need.

3:28 pm  
Blogger Colm said...

Yes the scale of buy to let is having a negative impact, but even if every new build property went to an owner occupier or affordable housing, demand would still outstrip supply. I think this would be proven by looking at the figures for those on housing waiting lists against the figures for completions.

I think there is room for legislation to curtail the horror stories of new build developments that are 50% empty etc, but the upfront investment for buy to let does take a lot of the financial risk out of developments that might not go ahead without it.

4:01 pm  

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