Local housebuilder Barratt Homes is celebrating the completion of The Sidings development in Hull this month, with 120 homes now built and sold.
The site has been turned around in just over two years, with work commencing on the site within a month of being granted planning permission, and the first plot occupied eight months after construction started. The site is a strong example of the measures being taken by house builders to ensure the housing shortage is addressed as soon as possible.
Below, Paul Newman, Managing Director of Barratt Homes Yorkshire East discusses the measures being taken to reduce the housing crisis, why the myth of landbanking still persists in the housebuilding industry and the need for developers and local councils to come together to develop plans that address the nationwide issue and provide a sustainable solution.
“There’s no doubt that the UK is currently suffering from a housing shortage. A few years ago the problem was mortgage finance and then the shortage of bricks as the market started to recover. These particular issues are now receding so we are turning our attention to solving the lack of skills and the long-term problem of suitable land for quality homes. If we are serious about tackling the housing crisis we have to be serious about identifying where new homes should be built.
“Sometimes as housebuilders we’re told we just sit on land. That isn’t the case. Our aim as housebuilders is to purchase land and develop that land into quality homes and sustainable communities in which people can live – both quickly and efficiently. At the same time it is important that our developments are built in a way that will ensure the local community, and indeed any residents purchasing on the development, remain as undisrupted as possible.”
“We clearly can’t start building every home on every site at day one, we have to work in a logical and sequential manner, so we tend to work from the front to the back of a development – ensuring clear access and the safety of residents and site workers alike. That way we can build homes and make them available for those desperately seeking housing, as soon as possible.
“The focus needs to be placed on strong Local Plans for all areas across the UK. In some council districts this is being executed extremely well, and as result the housing shortage is eased in these areas.”
“However there is still a real need for Local Plans to be implemented in many areas across the UK – not least in districts and cities in Yorkshire, such as York and Harrogate. This needs to happen fast; areas already facing housing shortages could have to wait up to five years to see a turn around – and that’s if Local Plans are put in place immediately. Without a Local Plan, land isn’t made readily available for development and therefore land allocation becomes limited – making it extremely difficult for housebuilders to meet demand.
“A Local Plan should be a blue print for growth, identifying sites which are suitable for development, which will in time lead to an easing in the housing shortage. In York for example, a minimum of 850 homes need to be built every year up to 2030 to meet existing and future demand. However, there is now only enough brownfield land left for less than 5,000 homes. It is only by coming together with local councils to source new and sustainable land for development that the complex needs of the city can be met by housebuilders.
“It’s our responsibility as an industry to ensure that we are working in partnership with councils and local communities – ensuring we are planning for the future and developing the homes so desperately needed by thousands across the UK. The Sidings development in Hull is a shining example of successful land allocation and development – we need to use this example and ensure it is replicated across Yorkshire in order to meet our county’s housing needs.”