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Home Group welcomes Osborne's 'housing zones' announcement

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Home Group welcomes Osborne's 'housing zones' announcement

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government

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Image: London via Shutterstock

Home Group, one of the country's largest social landlords, has, rather unsurprisingly, welcomed government moves to curb house prices and boost the supply of 'affordable' housing.

The 55,000-home provider has said that new powers gifted to the Bank of England by Chancellor George Osborne during his Mansion House speech yesterday may help to ensure house prices do not become "overheated".

Home Group's CEO, Mark Henderson, has also welcomed moves to boost supply through the relaxation of planning rules and the adoption of so-called 'housing zones'.

The social landlord says it was the first affordable housing provider to push for the creation of 'housing zones', with Mr Henderson lobbying government and the Mayor of London’s office on the subject.

Today, Osborne and Boris Johnson are expected to outline their plans for London housing zones before the chancellor later outlines plans for the rest of England.

Mark Henderson said: “We’re very pleased the Treasury and the mayor’s office are adopting the principle of housing zones which will allow developers to build at scale. By identifying areas of land where planning regulations can be relaxed along with financial incentives to encourage start on site, developers will be able to increase supply.”

However, Tom Copley, London Assembly Labour Group spokesperson on housing, has slammed the mayor's efforts to resolve the capital's housing problems.

He said: “Boris Johnson has utterly failed Londoners on house building over the past six years of his Mayoralty. He is currently only building a third of the 63,000 new homes we need in London each year.

“As ever the devil will be in the detail, but the ideas announced today look interesting and we welcome anything that will increase the supply of housing. We need to ensure there are enough genuinely affordable homes that are good quality as part of this scheme, and this must not be compromised if planning regulations are relaxed.

“At the end of the day this is too little, too late from Boris. He’s been in office for six years now, but he is only building a third of the homes London needs to keep pace with our growing city.”

Mark Henderson, meanwhile, also welcomed a presumption in favour of planning on brownfield sites in urban areas which apparently could see as many as 200,000 homes delivered.

He said: “Mr Osborne is quite right to identify that while everyone recognises the need for extra housing people often object to it being built near them. By requiring local authorities to implement local development orders on brownfield sites there will now be a presumption in favour of development with the only topics for consideration being the type of housing built.”

Tottenham Hale has been identified as one of the potential zones, where the council has committed to building 5,000 new homes by 2025.

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober said: “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in Tottenham that shows that all levels of government recognise Tottenham Hale has the potential to become one of London’s key growth areas.

“We’re clear that our bid for a housing zone would put new affordable homes, high-quality design and a mixture of tenures at the heart of any plans.

“Our ambition is for a Tottenham Hale where thousands of new families are helped onto the housing ladder, taking advantage of the revolution in transport links that is already underway.

“We are committed to bringing long-term regeneration to Tottenham Hale that benefits our residents with better homes and long-lasting employment opportunities.”

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