JBP’s Capital Club is an exclusive network of property and planning professionals, working across London and the South East. The Capital Club hosts a number of breakfasts throughout the year at Guildhall, City of London, together with a Summer Reception in the Houses of Parliament.
Last week, we were lucky enough to secure Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing as our guest speaker. In the impressive surroundings of Guildhall, Kit spoke about MHCLG’s relentless focus on housing under the mantra “More, Better, Faster”.
First, by focussing on more, the Government seeks to deliver on its ambition to build 300,000 homes per year. Homes England is playing a valuable role in unlocking development opportunities across the country, releasing more land to developers who want to make a difference. The Ministry for Housing is also looking to provide millions of pounds in infrastructure funding to unlock new opportunities over and above existing housing targets.
Second, the houses we build must be better. Anyone who has attended a community consultation event will tell you that a large number of objections could be solved by exemplary design. We need new homes to fit into their surroundings, reflect the character of the local area and be of high quality. Kit spoke about the need to turn NIMBY to SLIMBY (Something Lovely In My Back Yard). This can be done by ensuring new homes are bespoke to the area, use traditional building materials and create communities.
Last, but by no means least, we must build faster. Modern, innovative methods of construction allow for faster delivery of quality new homes. The recent changes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allow councils to assess developers on past delivery rates to ensure new allocations are delivered early in the plan period. Further, the affordability issues faced most keenly in London and the South East will only be solved by increasing supply.
It was a pleasure to listen to Kit’s vision for how he plans to deliver the housing required for future generations. With his vast experience in local government as Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, and latterly as Deputy Mayor of London, Kit is uniquely placed to understand the issues facing the sector. He showed a real mastery of his brief, taking questions on land supply, through construction materials, to affordable housing.
Kit is the 8th Minister for Housing in as many years – if the Government are to succeed in delivering policies that work it would be a sensible idea to keep Kit in post for a decent amount of time!