Tom Keighley

Member Article

Clegg suggests garden cities could remedy housing crisis

The Deputy Prime Minister has suggested that garden cities could be answer to the growing housing crisis.

In a speech to the National House-Building Council in London, Nick Clegg said people want to live sustainably and move easily between work and home, saying “Garden Cities and Suburbs for the 21st Century” were the answer.

Mr Clegg said: “We can either condemn ourselves to haphazard urban sprawl – the surest way to damage the countryside.

“We can cram ever more people into existing settlements, concreting over gardens and parks – and bear in mind we already build the smallest homes in Western Europe.

“Or we can build places people want to live. Places which draw on the best of British architecture and design, which have their own identity and character. Which, rather than destroy the countryside, actually have a crucial role in keeping it intact.”

In the speech, Mr Clegg said the UK is building 100,000 fewer houses than needed each year, and over the next decade the UK is estimated to grow by around 230,000 households.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The housing market is at the point of no return, with rising house prices, rising rents and millions of families struggling to afford their home. For decades we have only been building about half the number of homes we need.

“But more than the human cost of not enough homes, housing has a crucial role to play in the country’s economic recovery. Every £1 spent on housing puts £3 into the wider economy, and every new home built creates 1.5 jobs in construction and up to four times that number in the wider supply chain, helping people back into work.

“We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s call for a long-term, comprehensive house building programme rather than ad-hoc initiatives, and hope this is reflected in wider housing policy.

“But such an ambitious programme shouldn’t come at the expense of other shorter-term measures which could deliver growth quicker, for example giving small parcels of public sector land over to developers to be built on. Housing associations, working with central and local government, are well-placed to make this housing ambition a reality.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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