South Norfolk MP, Richard Bacon, joined representatives from Norfolk’s leading property businesses to discuss the challenges of meeting Norfolk’s housing needs at a dinner organised by Howes Percival.
The aim of the dinner was to bring together housebuilders, promoters, major landowners, representatives from the public sector and planning consultants in an informal setting to discuss Norfolk’s housing needs. The agenda covered a range of issues including the role Norfolk plays in meeting wider housing need, proposed Government measures to improve housing delivery, local planning authority challenges including resourcing, and how to reduce the costs of delivering new housing.
Richard Bacon is an active constituency MP and a champion of self-build and custom-build housing. He founded the All-Parliamentary Group on Self-Build, Customer & Community Housebuilding and Place-Making and successfully steered into law his Private Member’s Bill which became the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, to make it easier for individuals and groups to acquire land to build their own homes.
Richard Bacon MP commented,
“I was very pleased to meet with a wide cross-section of those considering the future of housing in Norfolk. The title of the government’s White Paper “Fixing our Broken Housing Market” speaks to the deep-seated problems our society faces in making sure everyone has somewhere to live: there are protracted delays in making anything happen at all, which causes huge extra costs; the supply of housing does not rise to meet demand. As a consequence, average prices are now at painfully high multiples of average income. Many older people – even if they wish to downsize – are simply unable to find suitable smaller dwellings into which they can move; younger people find it increasingly difficult to imagine how they will ever be able to afford their own place.
“Each of the players in the system is working hard to achieve more delivery within the constraints they face but they are all working within a broken system. It is like trying to run a ten ton truck with the engine from a lawnmower. It is no surprise that it doesn’t work very well – the surprise is that it works at all. We need to create new models for delivering housing which offer much greater certainty and therefore drive down costs and risks, are available to all and where local people have a real voice in what gets built, where it gets built, what it looks like, how it performs and – crucially – who has the first chance to live there.
“I am committed to helping create such new models of delivery which provide good housing for people of all income levels through my work with the Right to Build Task Force.”
Paul Wootton, a Partner at Howes Percival and the Chairman at the event said,
“It really was an excellent evening and I know, from the feedback we’ve had, that everyone was hugely grateful to Richard for his insight and also for the opportunity to feedback their thoughts on the issues that impact them. Norfolk isn’t unusual in facing very real challenges in terms of meeting the demand for housing, but being able to sit down together with everyone in one room - from the developers and landowners, right through to our representatives in Parliament - we have a better chance of developing workable solutions.”