|>>|| No. 8485
Policy Exchange say they've cracked it:
>Many parts of Britain suffer from an acute housing shortage, manifested in enormous gaps between prices and construction costs. Previous schemes aiming to resolve this issue have often failed, because the homeowners who make up two thirds of the British public have generally seen development as placing large burdens on them without any corresponding benefits. We need a scheme that creates more good homes and better places in a way that shares the benefits with existing residents and communities, so they may become enthusiastic advocates of building rather than vigorous opponents. We propose that residents of a street should be able to agree by a high majority on new strict rules for designs to make better use of their plots. A street of suburban bungalows, for example, could agree on the right to create Georgian-style terraces. In many cases, an adopted ‘street plan’ would greatly increase the value of residents’ homes, giving them strong reasons to agree on it.
>These proposals will foster gentle intensification within about half a mile of existing transport and town centres, creating better and greener places with more customers to support struggling local high streets. More people will be able to live in neighbourhoods that pass the ‘pint of milk test’, living in walking distance of somewhere they can buy a pint of milk, along with other essential social infrastructure. Older residents can agree to permit the creation of generously-sized and stair-free new homes that will meet their needs in retirement for decades to come, with supported living options as they age. Our modelling suggests that, even with extensive constraints and extremely conservative assumptions about build cost and aversion to change, this policy could create a further 110,000 homes each year for the next 15 years above current estimates, all with the consent of the existing residents, and none requiring a single inch of greenfield or greenbelt land. On streets that agree to allow typical forms of gentle intensification, the average participating homeowner would make £900,000, while the local authority would get an average of £79,000 for every new property delivered. The boom would mean an extra £34bn spent on construction each year, and it may generate as much as 0.5pp extra annual GDP growth.
>Our proposals include limits on the development rights that streets can allow themselves, designed to minimise impact on neighbouring streets: light plane rules, rules stopping ‘garden grabbing’, rules on height, and rules restricting how much onstreet parking new residents could use. Redevelopment of listed and pre-1918 properties would be prohibited, as would development in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Each scheme will need to ensure that residents who wish to return are rehoused in a high-quality home for the interim period of the construction on the original plot; the large economic potential should make it easy to fund such provision. We suggest reforms to ensure generous provision of social infrastructure, including schools, buses and GP surgeries, so that the needs of any new residents are met without placing pressure on existing communities. We propose Capital Gains Tax (CGT) be levied on the value uplift resulting from a street vote, and its revenues hypothecated to local authorities, as well as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) being partly redirected, temporarily, also to local authorities.
>Modelling indicates that these measures would generate huge revenues for both local authorities and the Treasury, providing plentiful resources to improve services for the whole community. Revenues would also be hypothecated to the street for regreening and public space improvements. A net-zero whole life carbon condition would be imposed on all redevelopment of homes through street votes. Since existing housing stock is often poorly insulated and normally heated through gas, redeveloping into net-zero homes would constitute a huge improvement in environmental standards. Denser settlement patterns would support a shift away from car dependency. As future governments phase out gas boilers, street votes could provide the funds for existing homeowners to pay the costs of insulating and re-plumbing their homes to adapt them for heat pumps. ?>Unlocking community support for development could arrest the steep fall in homeownership among younger generations. It could yield beautiful and popular streets in the best traditions of British urbanism. It could relieve pressure on greenbelts for a generation to come. And it could generate an economic boom built on outdoor jobs that would reinvigorate the economy after Covid-19, just as the 1930s housing boom pulled Britain out of the Great Depression.
How will it all go wrong?