Leading land agent Aston Mead has supported the ideas set out in Boris Johnson’s ‘New Deal’ – but says that the conclusions he has reached should have been adopted years ago.
The company was responding to the Prime Minister’s speech in Dudley yesterday (Tuesday 30 June), in which he pledged to “build back better” and “build back bolder”, and promised the “most radical reforms” of the planning system since World War Two.
Aston Mead Land & Planning Director Charles Hesse said: “What Boris has announced is something we’ve been demanding for years. The UK has failed to build enough homes for decades, and brownfield sites – as long as they are combined with the right transport and infrastructure – provide the perfect opportunity to do just that.
“But it’s the planning system which is in most need of radical reform. Everything takes too long, is too costly and too complicated. The delays create a huge drag on the productivity and the prosperity of the country. So ultimately, this is the right decision – it just shouldn’t have taken a global pandemic to get us there!”
In his speech, the Prime Minister also compared the pace of building in the UK with other European countries, pointing out that in 2018 the United Kingdom built 2.25 homes per thousand people, whereas Germany managed 3.6, the Netherlands 3.8 and France 6.8.
Charles Hesse explained: “Boris is right. Construction in this country does compare very unfavourably to Europe – especially in France, where they manage to build more than three time the number of homes we do!
“We need to take a radical new approach to discover how we can get proposals fast-tracked through the planning system, and not allow the ‘newt-counting delays’ Boris mentioned to hold us back.
“To be honest we’ve been calling for such an approach for ages. But let’s hope that one upside of this dreadful virus will be to propel us even faster into a new stage of construction, to provide the homes that the people of this country so badly need.
“In his speech, the Prime Minister said that we needed to ‘help young people get on the housing ladder in the way their parents and grandparents could’. I’m sorry to say that without the speedy implementation of the sort of dramatic changes he has been describing, that simply won’t be possible.”