York Housing Chief Claims Government is Hindering the Construction of New Homes by Supporting Blockers
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York Housing Chief Claims Government is Hindering the Construction of New Homes by Supporting Blockers

Mr Gove, the UK government’s housing secretary, said his new planning reforms would increase the supply of new homes. He said he would name and shame councils that failed to hit their building targets and if they delayed or rejected legitimate applications, they could lose their planning powers. 

But City of York Council’s Cllr Michael Pavlovic, executive member for housing and planning, said: “Michael Gove and this Conservative government is backing the blockers to building the new housing the country needs, and the blockers are Conservative MPs.  

“His tough talk to councils is misplaced when the real problem is one of the Conservatives’ own making.  

“The mismatch between Conservative announcements and what is happening on the ground is evident with a record of failure to meet their own annual housing targets.  

“As we head towards a general election, it’s clear Labour is the only party that will stick to its promises to build 300,000 homes a year and give hope to the next generation of homeowners and renters.”

In the Conservative Party manifesto in 2019, it set out a housing target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

In 2021/22, the government built 232,820 net additional dwellings, but the average over the last ten years is 178,228, according to the Building Cost Information Service.

Approximately 90 per cent of the net additions are new-builds, so to meet the 300,000 target the government would need to build 270,000 new homes per year.

The last time anywhere near 270,000 houses were built was in the 1970s when an average of 260,000 homes were built a year across the decade.

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has vowed to reverse Mr Gove’s reforms if it entered government next year.  However, Darren Rodwell, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, defended Mr Gove’s action on housing targets.

He told Inside Housing: “We are pleased the government has confirmed that housing targets will become an advisory starting point which will take into account local circumstances.

“The reality is that planning is not a barrier to housebuilding.  “Nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, despite significant resourcing and capacity issues across the country.”