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RICS urges Labour to do more on housing

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says it welcomes the new Labour government’s ambitious housing plans - but it also casts doubt on some proposals.

In its response to this week’s speech by Chancellor Rachel Reeves, RICS says:

On planning reform: “We welcome reform to the National Planning Policy Framework to help meet our future housing and energy needs. This includes 300 new planners, which is very welcome but in reality, represents roughly one extra person per planning authority and it is essential we don’t just recruit, but retain these highly-skilled planners.”


On Grey Belt building: “We welcome the government’s announcement on the Grey Belt, a plan which may yield around 100,000 to 200,000 houses. However, a holistic, rather than piecemeal, approach for the Green Belt is required to provide access to green infrastructure, protect biodiversity, and recognize the economic need for urban growth.”

On energy shortages for house building: “the constrained capacity of our energy infrastructure … is increasingly blocking housing production, and RICS is calling for urgent investment in our electrical grid capacity to help support our future housing and infrastructure needs.”

On speed of house building: “Particularly pertinent in Labour’s quest to achieve economic growth … many studies have agreed on the positive correlation between GDP growth and the availability of homes. If housing delivery is backloaded towards the end of parliament, then the electorate may not see benefits quickly enough.”

The institution adds that is stands ready “to provide our expertise, resources, and support to ensure these ambitious goals are met, and to help build a sustainable, well-planned future for our nation's housing and infrastructure.”

Labour’s housing commitments, outlined earlier this week, are:

- Restore mandatory housebuilding targets;

- Build 1.5m homes by the end of this parliament - including affordable and council homes;

- End the onshore wind farm ban;

- Create a new task force to accelerate stalled housing sites - starting with 14,000 new homes across Liverpool Central Docks, Worcester, Northstowe and Langley Sutton Coldfield;

- Support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers across the country;

- Review planning applications previously turned down that could help the economy - planning appeals for data centres in Buckinghamshire and in Hertfordshire are already being reconsidered;

- Prioritise brownfield and grey belt land for development to meet housing targets when needed;

- Reform the planning system to "deliver the infrastructure that our country needs" - unresolved infrastructure projects to be prioritised; and

- Set out new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months.


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