It seems we have been in a perpetual housing crisis, with successive governments regardless of the party, committing to resolving this problem. But here we are, another new government and similar promises made, with new Chancellor Rachel Reeves promising to hit the 300,000 new home target others have failed to hit in recent times.

With the aid of a shake-up in planning laws and Labor’s newly announced Five Golden Rules for the development of any scheme built on green belt land, the Government assures us the targets will be achieved.

However, at this stage in the crisis, a target missed by not as much as in previous years, would be a good start.

The housebuilding sector will be expected to step up to meet the newly confirmed housing targets, with Labour’s Five Golden Rules for developments using green belt land being:

  • Brownfield development must be prioritised ahead of green belt
  • Grey belt development must come next
  • Green belt development must include at least 50% affordable homes
  • Public services and infrastructure must be introduced when building on green belt
  • Green belt development must be include a plan to improve existing green spaces and create new ones accessible to local people.

Grey belt land is a term coined by Labour during the run up to the election and refers to a new category of land that is regarded as poor quality or ugly green belt. These sites will include wastelands and even former car parks, released to facilitate the development of more homes.

A new opportunity for change

The new government is promising thousands more homes, which will include an expansion in social housing too. Throughout their campaign, Labour made all the right noises about housebuilding, but in reality, committed to little different from the previous regime.

However, the pressure to act is now on. They have said they will turbocharge the sector and getting things moving quickly, without actually saying how. Now mention of the funding needed from the private sector to support developers or how the sector will recover from the recent spate of insolvencies that have left it short of professional, experienced builders.

It is clear that we need action to deliver what the country needs, which should start with a comprehensive review of the national planning policy framework, a consideration of what support SME housebuilders require and making sure targets meet local needs.

The government must look at how local authorities approach master planning for residential sites, again addressing local needs and delivering more than just headline numbers – there’s little point offering sites for developments in regions with low demand for new housing.

This is an opportunity for the new government to allow councils the freedom to do things differently and work with local SME property developers to deliver the smaller development sites that can be funded privately, built by local tradesmen and welcomed by residents.

Beset by a range of problems, too many small housebuilders have gone under in recent years, with thousands of jobs lost or put at risk, with subcontractors bearing the brunt of the problem and suffering in the process. This is why we need action now and not just more speeches, more promises and more missed targets.

As a short-term property finance specialist, we support property developers of all sizes, from those refurbishing a single dwelling to first-time developers building a small scheme on a vacant town plot. But we not only need action from the government, but stability that will reduce interest rates and get the housing sector moving again.

Until then we will continue to lend according to our ethos of following through on our promises, increasing speed and reduced borrower costs through our in-house legal service and our ability to deliver solutions not off the shelf products.

If you need a short-term property loan to get your next development in motion, whether it’s £50k or £2m, we apply the same approach irrespective of loan size, so please get in touch today and see the difference a Signature can make.