National investment bank needed to double housing output - report
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Finance
A national investment bank should be set up to channel low-cost, long-term loans if the country is to double its housebuilding output, a new report has argued.
And The Housing Forum's study - 'The ABC of Housing Growth and Infrastructure' - argues that an increase in output should be delivered through extending existing urban areas, rather than via new towns or garden cities.
The ABC approach is based on "ambition, brokerage and continuity" and derives from the work carried out in Cambridge South over recent years to create an economic and planning framework linked to provision of good public transport infrastructure.
According to The Housing Forum, in each case success relies on leadership and a clear vision ("Ambition"), forging agreements between all the main stakeholders ("Brokerage") and having the tenacity to see the project through ("Continuity").
The report's co-author, Dr Nicholas Falk, said: "The case studies show that the UK can now build excellent large housing schemes, but only where there is ongoing support from the public sector. The report draws heavily on good practice in Germany, where the price of designated development sites is frozen so that some of the uplift can help fund local infrastructure."
Some of the report's highlights are:
- Park Central, Birmingham (Crest Nicholson) showing the value of redeveloping unpopular council estates for a wider mix of tenure.
- Kidbrooke, Greenwich (Berkeley) where public investment in advance was essential, as well as flexibility over the type of infrastructure investment made.
- Cambridge (Southern Fringe) - a model of a successful urban extension, on former green belt land, designed and developed out as a successful commercial project, even at the bottom of a recession.
Shelagh Grant, chief executive of The Housing Forum, said: “At a time when members of The Housing Forum cite land availability as the greatest impediment to housebuilding, we need to apply the principles of the ABC to demonstrate the practical approaches which can work and increase housing supply.”