8 out of 10, but more needed on rental options
There is much to be welcome in the Government’s White Paper, which faces up to the fact that there is an urgent need for innovative solutions to the complex housing challenges we all face. U + I could not agree more that innovation is going to be at the heart of meeting those challenges.
The White Paper sets out some policies that will help people like us deliver those innovative solutions. The review of the Nationally Described Space Standard and the Build to Rent consultation are particularly welcome. We also welcome the recognition of the need to explore the relaxing of restrictions on greenbelt land. Opening up HM Land Registry will also help.
But it is in the area of starter homes and rental where, while there are some positive noises, we believe the Government can go much further.
We think national policy should recognise the specific benefits of institutionally-owned Built to Rent accommodation as an increasingly important and mainstream component of housing provision, particularly for starter homes.
Build to rent offers an opportunity for middle-income earners to secure high quality home at sensible levels of rent. This improves the mobility of the workforce and increases tenures. It will also keep middle income earners in our city centres, an essential component in maintaining the energy and character of our cities.
Evidence from the UK’s biggest cities shows that the capital necessary to invest in Built to Rent is available. This represents a major potential boost for housing and a useful new residential option for the market.
U + I believes that a rental only housing option is an essential part of the solution, knitted into wider mixed use developments. Such mixed use developments should be further promoted by Government, as they allow people to work and play in the same area, creating a real sense of community. Such an initiative by the government – supporting rental only in mixed use areas – would be a very welcome and innovative solution to some of the housing challenges we all face.