05 FEB 2018

HFi Today, February 2018

- Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at Jaywick Sands

- The Times - Housing Special

- Housing Business Breakfast - this Wednesday

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at Jaywick Sands

Recently, Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, visited Jaywick Sands. She was joined by the HFi's Natalie Elphicke and the Coastal Communities team.

They discussed Jaywick Sands New Coastal Village and the opportunities available there. As a result, Melanie pledged to do all she can to ensure that this project gets off the ground, in order for us to build the homes we need.

Many of you will know that the HFi has played an active role in the regeneration of Jaywick Sands. It is one of Britain's many coastal communities which needs housing renewal.

Jaywick Sands was one of the HFi's case studies in our paper 'Turning the Tide'. In which we set out three areas for reform:

  • Attracting new public and private housing investment and housebuilding into the most deprived areas;
  • Enabling a one-stop shop for Housing Renewal Powers; and 
  • The introduction of a Fair Value Rents regime.

You can read 'Turning the Tide' in full here.

The Times - Housing Special

Last week, The Times newspaper ran an excellent feature on housing. The newspaper was packed with articles about our favourite topic - housing. Today, we thought we would share some of our favourites with you.

There was 'Green belt brand is hiding ugly truth' which argued that not all Green Belt land is exactly the same. It is not all the rolling hills of the Chilterns, it also includes scruffy scrubland, litter-strewn railway sidings and even a disused petrol station. The purpose of the land is of the utmost importance when a designation of 'Green Belt' is made. A point made by our Chairman, Sir Mark Boleat, in his recent paper 'The housing problem in London'.

Kirstie Allsopp, of Location, Location, Location fame, called for suitable sheltered accommodation for the elderly, allowing them to move down the housing ladder, as well as forcing high street shops to rent out spare space above their premises. 'Forget giving young a leg up, help old down housing ladder, Kirstie Allsopp says'.

Former Housing Minister, Nick Boles, made a controversial intervention. He criticised developers for 'land banking' and called for more competition in the market in 'Snagging list reveals market's shaky foundations'. This earned a rebuke from Pete Redfern, Chief Executive of Taylor Wimpey, who argued that it was not true to say that builders are 'land banking'. 'Taylor Wimpey hits back at ministers over land-banking'.

The Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, also got involved - 'Sajid Javid goes to war with nimbys and land bankers'. He criticised nimbys and land bankers, while arguing that there must be an increase in supply, not just more Help to Buy or cuts to stamp duty.

Anne Ashworth argued for something called slimby - as opposed to nimby or yimby. This, according to her, means 'something logical in my back yard', which is probably a halfway house between nimby and yimby. 'Bring on the slimby revolution'.

There was an article that rebutted the conventional wisdom that foreign buyers have caused a housing crisis. As Sir Mark also argued in his paper, projects can often only get off the ground because of foreign buyers buying property off-plan. 'How wealthy foreigners power the big projects'.

Famous psephologist, Sir John Curtice, wrote about the political dimension to housing in Britain. 'John Curtice: Young and old want action on housing crisis'.

The series ended with 'A better future built on many small ideas and one big vision', which argued for modular housing and made recommendations on how to improve the situation. Among other things, it called for housing to be categorised as infrastructure (something we recommended in our recent paper 'Better Connections') and for restrictions on building to be lifted on parts of the Green Belt (which Sir Mark argued for in his paper).

Housing Business Breakfast - this Wednesday

Our next Housing Business Breakfast will be held this Wednesday, 7 February at Trowers & Hamlins at 8.30-10.00am. We will be discussing Housing Delivery Partnerships. This is a great opportunity to not only network, but also, discuss the most important issues facing the housing industry.

Trowers & Hamlins is located at 3 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8YZ

To reserve your place email events@thehfi.com

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