Policy makers and journalists take note – housebuilding has nothing to do with meeting local need!

We have been saying for years that developers market houses creating demand for those houses and in doing so pushing up the population. Wain homes in their blurb spell it out below.

Policy makers, commentators and others take note – building houses has very little to do with providing houses to meet local need! Ramping up the housing target will help developers make more money it will not provide more homes for local people!!!

Withnoe Farm – Launceston

A superb new housing development consisting of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes ideally placed on the outskirts of Launceston, East Cornwall.

Situated just one mile west of the River Tamar, Launceston has much to offer to its residents, well known and popular for its independent shops, quirky narrow streets and quaint town square, you will be spoilt for choice when purchasing high quality and local produce.

An array of cafes, restaurants and pubs are plentiful, with Launceston playing host to the Literacy and Arts Festival each year, you certainly wont be short of things to do. The town even has a sports centre, clubs and an 18 hole golf courses within easy driving distance

This development is perfect for family households as commuting links couldn’t be any easier. The A30 provides fast and efficient links to Truro and Exeter. Gunnislake train station is close by, providing quick connections to Plymouth and further afield to London, with Exeter airport just under 50 miles away.

In addition to this, Launceston is a perfect location for growing families, offering great schooling for all ages. From Coombe Valley Nursery, Launceston Primary and Junior to Launceston College, they are all located within two miles of our Withnoe Farm housing development.

Considering buy-to-let? Our 2 and 3 bedroom homes offer fantastic investment opportunities for holiday homes because of their outstanding location. Launceston was once the capital of Cornwall and with the Norman Castle dominating the skyline, you can see why! Enjoy the surrounding rolling countryside with Bodmin Moor in one direction and Dartmoor in the other. Prefer the coast? These properties are ideally placed for the North Coast and points of interest such as Looe and Polperro beach.

https://www.wainhomes.net/developments/Withnoe+Farm+-+Launceston/

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Another simplistic idea!

Patrick Collinson in the Guardian revisits the idea of making housing cheaper by taking out the cost of buying land for housing from house prices. Namely local authorities buy land cheap and use the profits to subsidise social housing.

When Britain’s post-war housebuilding boom began, it was based on cheap land. As a timely new book, The Land Question by Daniel Bentley of thinktank Civitas, sets out, the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act under Clement Attlee’s government allowed local authorities to acquire land for development at “existing use value”. There was no premium because it was earmarked for development. The New Towns Act 1946 was similar, giving public corporation powers to compulsorily purchase land at current-use value. The unserviced land cost component for homes in Harlow and Milton Keynes was just 1% of housing costs at the time. Today, the price of land can easily be half the cost of buying a home: £439,999 is the cost of land with planning permission for one terraced home in a less salubrious part of London such as Peckham.

Think of it. Councils take all the financial uplift from planning permission, using potentially huge profits from land sales to build social housing almost at no cost to the public purse. Developers focus on making profits from building high-quality homes, not from hoarding plots. Land speculation is killed off almost overnight.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2017/nov/18/house-prices-land-prices-cheaper-homes

Doubtless there are those who would support this approach, but…

The article misses the point – land prices reflect the relative scarcity of land. High land prices are a result of high demand with limited land available.

If land is regarded a free asset then the danger is that there will be no incentive to regard it as an important asset, there will be a presumption in favour of development which is not exactly sustainable.

Taking all of the financial uplift from planning permission means that house prices would not actually fall, simply that the value of housebuilding would be kept by local authorities. One danger is that local authorities would see house building as a means of gaining revenue – more houses more revenue.

This would result in areas like Cornwall having a greater incentive to encourage people to move to Cornwall – more people more houses more profit! Not a sustainable solution.

To work effectively all land would have to be nationalised. If not existing house and other land owners – Tescos for example would still gain. Patrick Collinson seems to be unaware of the problem that the value derived from demand would not go away. Houses in nice areas would see values increase reflecting demand for houses in that area. The new owners would gain from the uplift. Quite why they would be more deserving than the previous landowners is anyones guess! [Potential second home owners would be laughing all the way to the bank!]

If we are serious about making housing affordable we have to address the demand side.

Sajid Javid announces radical new plans to provide housing!

Speaking this morning the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced new plans to provide housing for those in housing need. He said “For too long communities have been misled about the need for new housing in their area. They are dragooned into accepting new houses with the loss of greenfield land on the basis that this will provide much needed homes for local people. Then they discover that due to lax planning regulations and developers exploiting the system that the new houses end up as buy-to-let properties, holiday homes or are sold to the highest bidder often from miles away.”

He stated “From now on councils must make sure that they only allow housing that will meet local need, where developers come forward with plans for housing that is clearly not for people in need, the plans must be rejected. Tighter rules will mean that new houses can only be used to meet local housing need. Developers will not be allowed to build houses which are then advertised elsewhere.”

The communities Secretary also announced plans to fund housing in local authorities, making it possible to provide housing directly to those who needed it rather than to those who just made a financial gain.”

Hang on, he’s not really going to do that is he? Britain’s broken politicians have no idea other than to repeat the mantra We must build more houses!!!

Cornwall Council to up housing target! (again)

At todays Cornwall Council cabinet there will be a discussion over a proposal to increase the housing target over the next five years to 3,000 per annum.

The argument goes like this:

The Local Plan target of 2,625 is not being met, ‘only’ 2,331 houses are being built.

Borrowing costs are low, so building houses costs less than if borrowing costs were high.

The population is growing by 4,000 a year, so more houses are ‘needed’

More houses mean more council tax.

More houses will meet local need.

But this approach is fundamentally flawed. Why?

Population growth in Cornwall is due solely to in-migration. And here we have to ask ourselves why do people move to Cornwall?
People move because they are sold a myth of a rural paradise (yet with good air links!). Developers help to foster this myth and sell houses by advertising houses in places to meet local need – like South East England. So building more houses means more people moving to Cornwall, not meeting local need!

Local need is different from market demand – as with above market ‘demand’ is generated by marketing strategies.

Developers build houses not for local need but to meet market ‘demand’. Market demand means more people moving to Cornwall, more second homes and more holiday homes.

Now there is nothing wrong with local authorities borrowing money to build affordable homes for local need, but to achieve that you do NOT bump up the housing target. You increase the percentage of total new build which is built for local need.

The total target is not increased but the numbers of affordables as a share of the total is.

In essence instead of developers building what they want, we build what we want and need.

That means amongst other things making sure planning permissions do not allow or encourage homes for buy to let, second homes, holiday homes or homes for people looking to move to Cornwall for lifestyle reasons!

Oh and the extra council tax? That will go to provide the services for the extra residents!

Building more houses, bumping up the housing target – but not providing houses for local need!

The example below neatly shows why building more houses in Cornwall is largely a waste of time (unless you are a developer!).

More houses but not houses for local residents in need!

Withnoe Farm – Launceston

A superb new housing development consisting of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes ideally placed on the outskirts of Launceston, East Cornwall.

Situated just one mile west of the River Tamar, Launceston has much to offer to its residents, well known and popular for its independent shops, quirky narrow streets and quaint town square, you will be spoilt for choice when purchasing high quality and local produce.

An array of cafes, restaurants and pubs are plentiful, with Launceston playing host to the Literacy and Arts Festival each year, you certainly wont be short of things to do. The town even has a sports centre, clubs and an 18 hole golf courses within easy driving distance

This development is perfect for family households as commuting links couldn’t be any easier. The A30 provides fast and efficient links to Truro and Exeter. Gunnislake train station is close by, providing quick connections to Plymouth and further afield to London, with Exeter airport just under 50 miles away.

In addition to this, Launceston is a perfect location for growing families, offering great schooling for all ages. From Coombe Valley Nursery, Launceston Primary and Junior to Launceston College, they are all located within two miles of our Withnoe Farm housing development.

Considering buy-to-let? Our 2 and 3 bedroom homes offer fantastic investment opportunities for holiday homes because of their outstanding location. Launceston was once the capital of Cornwall and with the Norman Castle dominating the skyline, you can see why! Enjoy the surrounding rolling countryside with Bodmin Moor in one direction and Dartmoor in the other. Prefer the coast? These properties are ideally placed for the North Coast and points of interest such as Looe and Polperro beach.

https://www.wainhomes.net/developments/Withnoe+Farm+-+Launceston/

Cornwall is unspoilt, empty and rural – no not really!

From Cornwall, a developer’s paradise

New land use data puncture myth of ‘deep rural’ Cornwall

The next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam trying to get into a quaint olde Cornish town console yourself with the thought that only 5% of Cornwall’s land area is built on. Throw in another 2% for parks, gardens, sports pitches and other ‘urban green spaces’ (too often aka sad bits of grass and wasteland used for dog toilets and temporary litter depositories) and 7% of Cornwall is within what might be classed as a built-up envelope.

That’s a relief then. Or is it? Because only 12% of the total is classed as ‘natural’, with the rest being farmland. To a greater or lesser degree, some of this is now industrialised, drenched with chemicals, with any insects and birds having long ago fled to the shrinking safe zones for wildlife.

These stats come from some clever mapping carried out by the Urban Studies and Planning Department of the University of Sheffield. Their research has been simplistically presented by the BBC to ‘prove’ how little of the UK is built on, presumably in order to ease any trauma caused by plans to build on bits of the rest. It also of course conveniently serves to dull opposition to the large housebuilding companies set to profit by building on that surplus-to-requirement farmland and natural land.

But the research also allows us to draw a few interesting conclusions that you won’t read about in the local or London press. It contains some uncomfortable truths for those of our political elite intent on continuing Cornwall’s relatively high housing and population growth for as long as possible.

For a start bin the myth that Cornwall is somehow ‘under-populated’ or deeply rural. It’s actually more built-up than either Wales (6%), Northern Ireland (5%) or Scotland (3%). Furthermore, large swathes of the English countryside and even larger areas in the other countries are less built up than Cornwall. Moreover, if the Cornish data could be broken down into smaller units (something we’re unable to do because of the baleful effect of the unitary authority) then mid and west Cornwall would be very likely to be as built-up as the English average.

Second, these statistics of land use show that Cornwall Council’s planners and councillors have been a little economical with the truth in the past when claiming what a tiny amount of Cornwall was built on. For example, Independent Cllr Andrew Wallis claimed in 2014 that only 1% of Cornwall ‘has development’. Former Council Leader John Pollard said back in February that only ‘3% is built on’. A few weeks later Lib Dem Joyce Duffin said only 5% was developed. Even this last complacent assertion was not quite the case, as it turns out the area built on together with ‘urban green space’ is 7%. They should really begin to check the ‘facts’ their officers feed them.

Where to find ‘natural’ land in the UK

Third, note the damage already wrought on the natural world. Recent studies reveal massive drops in the numbers of flying insects, to add to the animal extinctions now occurring on a scale unseen since the days of the dinosaurs. This has been produced by building on ‘only’ 8-9% of the UK’s land area. Imagine what it will be like when we have 10% or 15% built on. Unfortunately a constantly growing proportion of land built on is precisely the sad ‘vision’ being peddled by our economic and political elites. Never-ending ‘growth’, never-ending greed.

For more: https://cornwalldevelopersparadise.wordpress.com/

Andrew George and housing in Cornwall – a good idea!

Andfrew George, former MP for St. Ives states:

Contrary to popular perceptions Cornwall is one of the most densely populated ‘rural’ territories in the country.

For the past half century we cannot be accused of being a NIMBY community – being one of the fastest growing places in the UK.

We’ve more than doubled our housing stock in that time and yet the housing problems of locals have got significantly worse. So, one conclusion we could reasonably reach is that turning Cornwall into a private developers’ paradise is part of the problem rather than a solution.

Instead this Govt has insisted that we take many more homes, in large part because of the growing demand for second homes!

I run a charitable housing body who’s objective it is to help meet housing needs of locals but this is made more challenging when a developers’ paradise policy projects unaffordable ‘hope’ value on so much land. We scratch the surface of the need but could do much more.

Although it sounds counter-intuitive the best way to help meet local housing need in perpetuity (as we do) is for the planning system to put a massive brake on market housing…

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009577272672&hc_ref=ARTnt74nWGg6Uaj0GNxA-9oIfrnkLFU_C5Ip4o2V4TgkWhPEGO01iua9e385u3bM2vM&fref=nf

Indeed, counter intuitive but a good idea!