Cross-party cross-sector call for national housing consensus

Politicians from the three main political parties have signed a letter alongside council leaders, heads of homelessness and planning charities, leading architects and planners, and chief executives of development companies and housing associations to address the current housing crisis.

The letter calls for a national consensus about solutions to the housing crisis that 'aim to ensure people's happiness and secure national prosperity'.

The letter recognises that good planning is part of the solution to meeting the nation's housing need, stating that: 'Good planning goes beyond the cycle of elections, and cross-party support...is vital for high-quality developments to be delivered. For too long planning has been marked by division. It is time the nation came together.'

The letter suggests that a national consensus on building homes should be founded on three interlocking objectives:

1. Comprehensively planned redevelopment of Brownfield Sites within an urban context (e.g. the docks in London, Salford and Bristol);

2. The expansion of existing towns and settlements where the addition improves the overall level of amenity for the existing population rather than detracts from it. This will not be achieved by merely adding numerous housing estates on the edge of a town. It will require a proper provision of additional services and support to the existing transport networks to prevent them becoming even more crowded;

3. In new planned settlements based on Garden City principles where new social and physical infrastructure ensures that they provide a good quality of life and are sustainable.

The letter says: "Providing most new homes in one of these three ways will make it possible to protect smaller towns and villages in the countryside from a rash of new housing estates. It would preserve and enhance our natural and historic environment.

"The delivery of new places for people should be founded on a robust, locally led and democratic planning system. It is time the nation came together and set itself on a truly sustainable pathway to create the future communities our children deserve."

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