Headlines: October 29th, 1999

The Department for the Environment Transport and the Regions has called for more joined up thinking by local councils to stem the growth of difficult to let properties. Unpopular housing has grown over the last three years and there are now some 377,000 dwellings that tenants are reluctant to accept. The greatest concentrations are in the north west, north east, Yorkshire and Humberside.Researchers of the Policy Action Team, following up a Social Exclusion Unit report, found that housing policy decisions were taken on a council area basis, despite the fact that the housing market does not recognise the council boundaries. The team found instances where authorities were releasing greenfield site land for housing in excess of the local need. They did not take into account the housing situation in neighbouring areas. The result was that new housing was in direct competition with old housing.

The team has recommended a more integrated approach with land rationing in some areas to prevent the collapse of the housing market elsewhere.