Headlines: March 7th, 2008

A national newspaper advertising campaign is being launched today to question the Government’s house building policies. At the same time a new survey shows there is little public support for the plans.

The results of the survey are published today by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, which commissioned ICM to carry out the ‘Public Attitudes to Housing Expansion’ study. It shows that more than half of respondents are opposed to the plans for three million new homes by 2020.

Almost as many people, the survey results show, believe so many extra properties will have a negative impact on communities and 50 per cent believe the biggest winners under the plans will be property developers and landowners. More than three-quarters of respondents believed the Government should see bringing some of the country’s 700,000 empty properties back into use as a priority. About half also supported the idea of more building on derelict, or brownfield sites and thought this, too, should be a priority.

The CPRE’s senior planner, Kate Gordon, said the survey showed people would be more sympathetic to the Government’s plans if house building was accompanied by strong measures to tackle urban dereliction and to bring empty properties back into use. “Welcome progress has been made, with around three quarters of
new homes now built on brownfield land, but more is needed,” she said and added, “We welcome the Government’s decision, announced this week, to set up a National Brownfield forum. To make further progress, we need to address the chronic shortage of regeneration skills.”

It was important, she said to secure the commitment of Government, communities, planners and developers, to making brownfield regeneration a priority.

Advertisements are appearing in national newspapers today inviting people to e-mail the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint, if they are concerned about the impact of the housing proposals.