MPs warn that the South East is not building enough new homes

MPs on the South East Committee have raised concerns, in a report out today, that the region is not building enough to meet the target for new homes contained in the South East Plan, and that this is having a severe effect on the provision of affordable homes in the region.

The MPs are calling on the South East England Partnership Board and the Government Office for the South East to take into account the house building targets suggested by the National Housing Policy Advice Unit when they review the target number for the South East, and for them to be prepared to revise the total for the region upwards.

The provision of affordable and social housing is linked to the overall number of homes being built. The Committee is concerned that the 35% target for affordable housing set out in the South East Plan is not being met and urges all involved in housing delivery to continue to aim for the 35% target as a minimum.

Chair of the Committee, Stephen Ladyman MP said:

"The Committee fully appreciate that the demand for new homes in the South East is controversial but the evidence speaks for itself.

"We have to have an open mind about house building numbers and be prepared to aim higher even than the current target.

"We also have to do better at increasing the proportion of affordable housing.

"If we don't business investment will be lost to the UK and the South East will become a place only the rich can afford to live."

The report also looks at:

€ The good work that the Homes and Communites Agency has done to maintain the current level of housing delivery in the region through the downturn.

€ Concerns that the provision of infrastructure alongside housing developments is delaying schemes in many parts of the region from making progress.

€ The urgent need to understand the housing requirements of an ageing population throughout the region, and for local authorities to take action in their local housing strategies

€ The important role that housing can play as part of a low carbon future; and the need for both new homes to comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes and for retro-fitting of the existing housing stock

€ The need to allow selective reviews of the green belt in parts of the region, in particular where there is a lack of suitable brownfield land

€ The need to consider alternative models for providing affordable housing in urban and rural areas.