A leading Bristol planner has called for the council to take a positive approach to suitable locations for new homes, following the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper.
The strategy paper was launched yesterday in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, who said: “We have to build more of the right houses in the right places, starting right now.”
Tom Stanley, Director of Planning in the Bristol office of commercial property specialist Colliers International, welcomed Mr Javid’s words, and said he hoped the pragmatic approach taken in the White Paper to housing delivery would ultimately help in tackling issue of affordability – which is a significant issue in Bristol, where house prices have risen faster than in any other UK city for two successive years.
“Sajid Javid has effectively directed councils to make the right decisions on where the best location for housing is,” he said.
“What Mr Javid is saying is that we should firstly identify the right place for housing, and secondly use the appropriate mechanism to deliver it there.
“In my view the right place for some housing could be within the greenbelt if indeed it is the right place.
“Councils can, in line with national policy, review the greenbelt and choose to remove areas from the greenbelt to locate housing if that is the most appropriate option to take.
“It has always been the case that councils can do this – but the White Paper has highlighted the need for councils to make full use of these powers in order to meet housing needs in their communities.”
Data from Hometrack UK has shown that for the past two years property values in Bristol have increased at a higher rate than any other UK city – rising by 9.6% across the year to December 2016, and by 11.6 per cent in 2015.
Mr Stanley added: “Mr Javid is absolutely right – it is not enough simply to build houses. They have to be built in the right places, and this means giving due regard to access to jobs, education and shops, with the aim of limiting commuting and reducing car usage. The Housing White Paper begins to underpin this.”