“The English housing system is in crisis.”  So starts the recently published report by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF). 

Making the case for new settlements, the report identifies that this is not the first time that England has faced social, economic and environmental challenges giving rise to the need for radical solutions to housing need, and through more than two centuries since the industrial revolution, responses have come with the creation of model villages, garden cities and new towns. 

The challenge now is delivering the next generation of new settlements to meet the needs of the 21st century.  While each new settlement will need to consider the specific requirements of its locality, a common feature is that they should create better places to live through the implementation of a shared vision and ambition of landowner, developer, local community and local government – to be “locally planned partnerships”.

The report considers the policy context.  Both the NPPF and the Government’s housing strategy lend support to large scale development, by way of new settlements or sustainable, urban extensions, following the principles of garden cities.  The report makes 12 recommendations, amongst which are proposals that:

  • the Government should oversee a national strategic spacial plan for England that incorporates housing
  • CLG should strengthen mechanisms supporting the local authority duty to cooperate
  • CLG should work with local authorities to develop mechanisms and strategy guidelines for involving communities in planning beyond the local level.