It's the Housing Shortage Stupid... - Blog

It's the Housing Shortage Stupid...

It's the Housing Shortage Stupid...

General GFW 1st July 2024

It’s election week and the UK goes to the polls on Thursday. Whist the election campaigns are being fiercely fought, the parties have converged towards an agreement that something needs to be done about the housing shortage.

Housebuilding has been in decline since 1968. Delivery rates over the last 10 years have seen an annual shortfall of around 120,000 homes per annum, giving an estimated accumulated deficit of some 4.3million homes.

Pre-election caution by the Conservative Government has led to even lower recent delivery rates for fear of upsetting voters, particularly when it comes to green belt release.

The main parties are approaching the housing crisis as follows:


·        Labour - redefine the purpose of the Green Belt, releasing lower quality ‘grey belt’, reform the NPPF within the first 100 days and restoring mandatory housing targets to deliver 1.5 million homes over the next Parliamentary Term.

·        Conservative – Prioritise brownfield development, abolish Nutrient Neutrality rules and use locally-led urban development corporations to deliver 1.6 million homes over the next Parliamentary Term.

·        Liberal Democrats – Use new garden cities and community led development for to deliver 1.9 million homes over the next Parliamentary Term, of which 750,000 will be social housing.


·        Even the Green Party agree that more housing is necessary and have stated their commitments to providing 150,000 new social homes a year.


So what does this mean for clients?

Compare the situation to 2010 and the forming of the Coalition government. Within 3 months, a major change to structural planning policy was rushed through to deliver more housing. Within a further 2 years, the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) occurred, now a staple of the planning system, which in part unlocked somewhere in the region of 1.9 million houses in the ten years following its adoption.


The current situation feels similar to that of 2010. With all Parties looking to make significant increases to the housing supply. Many Local Authorities have paused production of their Local Plans until after the election when the direction of travel is known. If the polls correctly predict a Labour victory, the reform of the planning system will happen quickly and need to be taken into account.


So what should clients be doing now?

Preparation is key, one of the certainties of life is that planning takes a long time. Our independent specialist team has a breadth of skills not matched in the region, meaning our Planning, Architecture and Development teams are helping clients prepare by:

·        Planning – Strategic land promotion to Local Plans and Planning Applications

·        Architecture – Masterplans for land promotion and Planning Application drawings

·        Development Surveying – Option and Promotion Agreements, Land Sale for best value

If your clients have land with potential, it is important that they act now to get ahead of the curve. Once the nature of new planning rules are known, experience tells us that those who are prepared in advance, are the ones who maximise the opportunities.


Key opportunities are presented by:

·        Land on the urban fringe

·        Green Belt land adjoining an established settlement

·        Brownfield Land or Previously Developed Land

·        Land well connected to strategic infrastructure suitable for the creation of Garden Villages or New Towns

·        Land near to significant electricity substations

We offer a free of charge initial consultation to potential clients with strategic development land. Please get in touch to take that up and find out how our specialist services can maximise the opportunity and become one of the ones that benefit from the forthcoming reforms.

Richard Garland FRICS AssocRTPI

Managing Partner

07738 196051



Northumberland & Scottish Borders
Tyne & Wear
County Durham


GFW is a multi-discipline team of highly experienced Chartered Surveyors, Farm Business Consultants, Land and Estate Agents, Planning Consultants, Architects, Building and Commercial Surveyors.

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Company Registration Number: OC304694 Registered office address: 4-6 Market Street, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1TL

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