Labour unveils commission to investigate housing

Fri 27th September 2013, 8:57 am

Ed Miliband has established a commission to examine how to speed up compulsory purchase procedures and identify sites for new towns.

Ed Miliband: Labour leader unveils housing commission

In his speech to the party’s conference this week, he said that he wanted to increase the number of new homes being built each year to 200,000 by 2020.

Former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons would head the commission, which will also consider whether towns would be given a “right to grow” outside council boundaries even if opposed by neighbouring authorities. A shake-up of CPO rules could be used to threaten developers which are seen to be sitting on undeveloped land.

This echoes a similar call made earlier this year by London mayor Boris Johnson, threatening developers with CPOs to speed up housebuilding.

Reacting to Miliband’s speech, John Cridland, CBI director general, said: “"We have fallen woefully behind on house-building and the commitment to 200,000 homes a year is a great ambition. To achieve this we need housebuilders on board, not criticised for holding on to land when it's not viable to build on it.”

Lyons this week said that the commission could take between six months and a year to report.

Last week, new figures released by the Home Builders Federation revealed a 49 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of planning approvals for new homes in England in the second quarter of 2013.

However, the federation said that permissions were often not translating into building work because of “increasingly onerous” planning conditions.

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