It was gripping viewing last night for those involved in the delivery of new homes, with the airing of the BBC2 programme ‘The new builds are coming: Battle in the Countryside’.
It was certainly a hot topic in the office this morning!
The worsening of the UK housing crisis is well publicised, with the Government vowing to deliver 300,000 new homes every year.
So how do you mend the broken housing market, and are large scale housing developments the answer? The BBC certainly couldn’t answer that question in 60 minutes, but it did offer some insight into how existing residents and those looking for a new home view these developments.
Focusing on Culham village, located in South Oxfordshire, it followed the controversial decision to release green belt land to deliver 3,500 new homes – cue the placards, petitions and objections.
Oxfordshire is one of the most expensive counties to live in the UK. According to Rightmove the average house price in Oxfordshire last year was £407,282 almost 80% more than the UK average.*
The episode offered a balanced view from a mix of local residents including existing home owners who were against the proposed developments to increase their village, and those struggling to get on to the housing ladder.
It also highlighted how often the loudest voice was those against the development, despite there clearly being a 'silent majority' who want or need local homes but were not active in the planning process. It raises an interesting point for us as business - how this silent majority can be given a voice? This issue has long been recognised and is highlighted in a report by Shelter about addressing our housing shortage, and engagement of the silent majority. We, as an industry, still need to find better ways to communicate this housing need to Planning Committees when confronted by the angry, home owning, residents.
We are looking forward to the next episode, with a focus on the architects and developers looking to create new communities from scratch, along with residents making these developments their new home.
*As of November 2017 the average house price in the UK was £226,071 (Land Registry)