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Demand for new homes high but reluctance to build on green belt

by: Anna Sagar
  • 08/06/2021
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Over three quarters of people think that the UK government should build homes but draw the line at introducing “growth zones” or reclassifying green belt space.


According to a survey of 1,128 people by Warwick Estates around 40 per cent strongly agree that the UK government needs to build more homes, with 37 per cent somewhat agreeing.

However, support for “growth zones” is muted with 61 per cent of those surveyed disagreeing that they should get initial planning approval automatically. A further 59 per cent also said that it would deter them from living in such areas.

The zones were introduced as a concept in the Queen’s speech earlier this year and could mean that land zoned for growth would get automatic approval of initial planning permission and councils would not be able to turn down applications that comply with local regulations.

It is a potential part of the government’s plan to build 300,000 new homes every year and has been described as one of the biggest shakeups to planning in 70 years.

Another proposal to build new homes is reclassifying green belt land, which is land around urban areas that cannot be developed to deter urban sprawl, but three quarters of those surveyed said they were against the idea.

Warwick Estate COO Emma Power said: “Although the public is clear in their support for more new homes, their reluctance to create either Growth Zones or start building on the Green Belt puts the government between a rock and a hard place. Where are all of these new homes going to go and how can they be delivered in an acceptable time frame?”

She said that there was “no one quick fix” and whilst reclassification of green belt land could help there was a need to incentivize developers to build more.

She added that this could be challenging as a proposed tax on profits to cover the Grenfell scandal could dissuade developers from building, therefore the housing crisis is likely to remain a prominent issue.

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