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A Suggestion for the Housing and Planning Minister

Brandon LewisIn a new report A Suggestion for the Housing and Planning Minister, published by the Centre for Policy Studies on Tuesday 19 May, Keith Boyfield and Daniel Greenberg urge Planning Minister Brandon Lewis to seize the opportunity of a new Government to tackle Britain’s housing shortage.

The UK planning system is chiefly to blame for the shortage, restricting housing supply and inflating house prices to unaffordable levels.

The authors propose a simple solution: Pink Zones – dubbed pink because they provide a diluted regulatory regime compared with the red tape that characterises the current paralysed planning system:

  • they are intended to provide a simplified planning system for the construction of vibrant, attractive and prosperous new residential developments underpinned by social infrastructure;

  • they are designed to work from the bottom up – not the top down – bringing together local residents, developers and councils to achieve consensus over new development and accelerate the development process;

  • they will increase competition, bypass many current planning regulations and improve design standards.

Keith Boyfield explains:

In the past a great number of housing developments were built in the UK by private entities – in some cases of a philanthropic nature, such as Bournville. Pink Zones could trigger institutional funding for investment in new housing – institutions such as life insurance companies, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and charitable foundations. Ultimately Pink Zones would create more and better homes for people throughout the country and tackle the poverty of aspiration which typifies much residential construction in this country. People would be happier and the country would be richer.

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