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London Needs a Million More Homes than Previously Thought

A recent headline suggests a huge deficit in the availability of UK housing over the next few years. At Maxim Recruitment we’ve always got an ear to the ground for the latest on the UK construction industry news. This is obviously of interest not only to our clients but to ensure we have the best offerings in the UK job market.

We  read the recent report in Building Magazine about the shortfall of housing in London and the southeast over the next twenty two years, but when we Googled for more information we found a similar prediction some twelve years ago too!  At that point the prediction was for a shortfall of 1.1 million homes (England) by 2022 with 70% of these needed in the London area. This estimate was made by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

UK Housing Construction Deficit
Moving to 2014, global company Aecom has assessed that London and the southeast will again be 1 million houses short of what is needed. This is on top of the 1.5 million houses already planned between now and 2036.  The report covered an area within a 60 mile radius of central London and considered the local plans of 127 boroughs in their calculations.

Quality Living
Aecom identified that the housing problem was not confined to London and the southeast and also that it makes most sense to concentrate development around ‘transport hubs’. Their MD of Europe, Africa Andrew Jones commented, “Throughout the region, we need to make the most of existing and future transport connections through intensified development around tube and rail stations, to create revitalised centres with homes, workplaces and community amenities fit for the city’s future demographic and economy.

With the capital expecting to reach metropolis size – 20 million+ by 2036 – Jones feels it is important to focus on quality both of living standards and place for future generations. Aecom foresee London becoming a global mega-city in the future with a population of 30 million by 2065.

The Lyons Review
Just before the publication of the report from Aecom came the Lyons Review, a long-awaited Labour party commissioned review. The Chartered Institute of Housing feels that this ‘blueprint’ for the future of housing in London could help address the crisis as long as it is put into place. Much of its contents have been embraced as Labour party policy. As for its implementation, only time will tell and of course, the outcome of the next general election.

In general it outlines a number of suggestions to make this blueprint work. These include:

Construction – 200,000 homes per year.

No land-banking by developers i.e. planning permissions should be applied for promptly with ‘use it or lose it’ penalties in place. The time limit on planning permissions should be reduced to two from three years with local councils having the authority to issue council tax demands on developments which are slow to get of the ground.

Affordable housing – The review suggests that while no further funding would be available, local authorities should be allowed to use up unused borrowing capacity which other authorities aren’t using.

Local planning – The review doesn’t want to upset the National Planning Policy Framework already in place as long as local authorities submit draft plans prior to December 2016 for consideration. If this deadline is not kept the Planning Inspectorate can intervene and collaborate with local residents to make alternative plans.

Garden Cities – The review suggests a priority should be made to identify appropriate sites for garden cities by the next government.

Local sales – A number of homes must be made available to local people before any marketing further afield.

UK Construction Opportunities
For those with an interest in working in housing construction  in engineering, project management or quantity surveying job roles, please get in touch with our consultants to see what vacancies we have in your local area or send us your updated CV via the Maxim Recruitment website.

Adam Cadwaladr
Maxim Recruitment 
UK Office 

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