Last summer, before the recession was confirmed, the Government committed £8 billion to delivering 3 million new homes by 2020. Part of this overall target is an increase in the supply of affordable homes to at least 70,000 each year. Yet, less than 44,000 affordable homes were completed in England last year. In order to meet the target of 70,000 the output of affordable homes alone will need to increase by over 60%! Back in the summer nobody disagreed that these targets were steep. But fast-forward to today with communities across the country facing critical economic challenges and house building having virtually ground to a halt - and most in the industry now agree that the targets are impossible. Yet the urgent need for new housing remains. And the questions remain: who is going to develop these new homes? And on what land?
Eco-towns are being championed by the Government as a key part of the solution to the UK's housing crisis. In fact they're intended to be a combined response to three challenges: climate change, the need for more sustainable living, and, the need to increase housing supply. But can they really deliver?
Ruairidh Jackson, Head of Planning and Property Strategy, Co-operative Estates.
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