Tag Archives: housebuilders

Opinion: Planning rules

Those of you who have worked your way through the conference agenda and Conference Extra will by now have reached the emergency motions (page 28, since you ask) and will notice that there are four in the ballot: banks are awful, Julian Assange is awful, teacher qualifications are under threat and ‘what have you done with our planning system?’

I paraphrase unfairly, of course. All tastes are clearly catered for and you can make your own mind up about which to vote for if you are at conference.

The planning one (which I have something to do with) is a mild rebuke to government and unusual because ALDC, its sponsor, rarely uses its rights to propose motions. Its mild tone perhaps masks the considerable anger at grass roots level: on 6 September the Government made various announcements about relaxing planning rules, claiming that these will help kickstart the economy. In summary these are

Posted in Conference, Local government, News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Good news on affordable housing, but spare me the house builders’ crocodile tears – their share prices have doubled

Winning an extra £300m from the Treasury for affordable housing and tackling empty homes is good news by any standard (well done, Andrew Stunell, and thanks for all you did at DCLG). Moving forward on the £10 billion government guarantees for infrastructure spending is positive too. And if the Montague Review to encourage private renting is implemented, that’s proof patience can be rewarded…. I spent ten years on the London Assembly calling for both Labour and Conservative mayors to act. Back in June I had put housing at the heart of a four-point plan for a sustainable recovery. So it is great to see this issue come to the fore.

But forgive me for not believing the crocodile tears from developers about how they can’t afford to start work on ‘commercially unviable’ sites. The Times just revealed they’ve been quietly squirreling away land banks big enough for a quarter of a million homes. Not unviable, so much as slightly less massively profitable. Just look at their share prices. They’ve doubled over the last year even before the boost this announcement gave them (Taylor Wimpey up from 30p to 54p; Barratt up from 76p to 150p; Persimmon up from 425p to 700p). Yes, doubled. Not bumping along the bottom, like the rest of the economy.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 13 Comments
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