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Sort through house-building obstacles or miss the mark, warn UK Government Lords | Lodging

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Britain faces housing crisis in the wake of the pandemic as confusion over planning rules and staff shortages undermine government targets to build 300,000 homes per year, House committee says of the Lords.

A withdrawal from small business housing construction needs to be addressed by ministers to reduce the housing shortage, the multi-stakeholder peer group said.

“Too many people are currently living in expensive, unsuitable and shoddy housing, and the housing supply must be increased now to cope with the housing crisis,” the committee said in its report, Meeting the demand for housing. housing.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is expected to outline the government‘s plans to jump-start housing construction after the industry suffered the double blow of Brexit, which reduced the amount of skilled labor available, and the upheaval caused by the pandemic.

Gove has indicated that he will encourage employment and housing in the regions as part of the government’s upgrade program, although it is likely to be a long-term project.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, chair of the Lords’ built environment committee, said: Builds 39% of new homes, but only builds 10%. “

The committee criticized the reversal of proposed reforms to planning rules that would have divided zones into zones, some of which are reserved for conservation and others that have few or no rules holding back developers.

Ministers scrapped the proposals after the Lib Dems overturned a majority of 16,000 Tories in the Chesham and Amersham by-elections, which local Tory leaders blamed largely on voters’ rejection of the planning plan local.

Uncertainty and delays in planning reforms have had a “ripple effect” on housing construction and created uncertainty for builders and planners, Neville-Rolfe said. The former minister and director of Tesco’s board said local authorities must adopt local plans to indicate where new developments could take place.

She said less than 50% of local authorities had adopted or updated their local plans in the past five years, leaving developers unaware of what land was available for new construction. But she warned that any reform of the planning system “will only work if local planning authorities have the resources and the staff.”

Local authorities have complained that after 11 years of austerity measures, which forced them to impose 40% cuts in daily budgets, planning departments are only a fraction of the size needed to assess requests.

Nonetheless, they say, over 1.1 million apps have been accepted, but private developers have failed to start building.

“This is probably what surprised me the most during our investigation. Not so much the shortage of masons and skilled construction workers, which is serious and well known, but the lack of planning skills after years without training, ”she said.

Neville-Rolfe urged ministers to take into account an aging population, which means that by 2050 one in four people in the UK will be over 65. “The country needs more specialized and traditional housing suitable for the elderly,” she said.