We don’t need all these houses

John Eaton and Ken McCall of CPRE Wiltshire have contributed a statement to Wiltshire Council regarding their climate emergency pledge in 2019.
Their message is: …

A statement in the Times dated 10th September 2019 says::
“There is no chronic housing shortage because official figures show that since 1996 English housing stock has grown by 168,000 per year, while household numbers have only increased by 147,000 per year.
“We have a surplus of 1.1 million houses now. Amended figures suggest that England only needs 160,000 houses per year and not the 250,000 mentioned in Mr Javid’s 2017 white paper.”

Current government policy is flawed and ineffective. It is not delivering the right type of housing in areas of most need and or where employment and infrastructure can support it.

Government policy is also driving the wrong behaviour at local government level. For example, to meet government figures for Trowbridge, Wiltshire Council have made land grabs from surrounding large villages. This includes land at Southwick Court which is steeped in history.

The level of housing already planned in West Wiltshire to be built by 2026 means C4,000 new houses on green field sites in and around Trowbridge alone. We have seen similar levels of new housing in and around Westbury, Melksham, Chippenham and Corsham.

The impact on large villages, namely loss of green field and rural character, urban sprawl due to Community Governance Review, increased traffic, lack of school places, air quality, impact on habitat and biodiversity and lack of infrastructure to support an increase in population. Will there be a repeat for the Wiltshire Council plan to 2036?

With the government committed to reducing net immigration, why are we building so many new houses?

I would suggest that the new house building programme has become a cornerstone of our economy!

We have not seen this level of new house building since post war Britain back in the 40/50’s. Why?

Put simply, we are building the wrong type of houses just to generate income and profit — this strategy is not sustainable!

An article in the Nov 22nd, 2019 edition of the Wiltshire Times under the heading: SCANDAL OF EMPTY HOUSES says:

“Over 1,500 houses in Wiltshire have been empty for over 6 months”.

Housing charity Action on Empty Homes says:

“To see empty house numbers shoot up for a third year alongside rising homelessness is simply unacceptable. Our housing market is not delivering the housing we need. This is why we want to see hundreds of thousands of wasted empty houses brought into use for those in housing need. The country “cannot afford” to see houses stand empty because councils lack the help to bring them back into use”

The Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also state that we do not need 300,000 houses per year.

Remember Pete Seeger’s song “Little Boxes, Little Boxes“?

Two people searching for something against a cloudy blue sky