Build houses where local communities want them

Here’s a paradox. In some parts of the country like Wokingham there is too much private sector investment going into new homes. The planning system decides that the homes should be built in these places, and then people from all over the UK and from abroad acquire them. Meanwhile in other parts of the country they are crying out for more investment and have very few new homes  being built. These places often lose people who migrate elsewhere to set up businesses  or to find  better jobs and new homes.  As the government wishes to level up and believes in planning it needs to change the planning system to allow places under too much development pressure to have less and places wanting more investment to have more. There is no iron law of geography or business development which says so much of the new housing and then so much of the consequential extra employment has to take place in a limited number of locations.

The imbalance in rates of development increases the cost of providing infrastructure and public services. In places with falling or slowly rising populations there is often excess capacity . Public services may need to think of closing surgeries or schools as the users reduce. The private sector may well have excess capacity in its water pipes, broadband links, electricity cables and the rest. In the fast growing areas many of these facilities need expanding and upgrading to cate for all the extra people.



  1. Fedupsoutherner
    June 9, 2022

    Farage pointed out that government ministers have not linked the need for 750 houses a day to be built with the huge increase in immigration. England is the most crowded nation in Europe now. It’s difficult to go anywhere or do anything without being bombarded by crowds. Everywhere is being concreted over with houses that frankly aren’t fit for purpose in many cases and that cost an arm and a leg. The south of England is buckling and the Midlands are following behind. If we need more housing start using brown sites and encouraging more jobs and homes in the north. Our sewerage capacity is already working at 150%. We don’t need more homes in villages in the West Midlands. Our broadband is dire but I am grateful we have any provision. Something must be done about high levels of immigration. When is the government going to follow sensible rules like they have in Oz and New Zealand where only people needed are allowed in?

    Reply It is obvious that high rates of migration mean the need for large number of extra homes.I have regularly used this as an argument for lower migration. That gets discussed in Home Office business, Not Levelling Up department!

  2. Narrow Shoulders
    June 9, 2022

    sounds like interventionism to me.

    If government wishes to intervene, why not reduce the numbers needing homes (and services)?

    1. Peter
      June 9, 2022

      Narrow shoulders,

      I think it is a variation on a previous theme ‘Build “executive homes” and they will come!’

      So you build an inexpensive but upmarket development in, say, Hartlepool and the area is then peopled by entrepreneurs who then boost the local economy.

      I don’t think it works like that though. People look first at an area’s potential rather than its housing market. Might work with a brand new town but not just more/better housing.

  3. turboterrier
    June 9, 2022

    Building more homes is the solution.
    The real problem is the high number of people both legal and illegal we allow into our country every day, week, year and putting more demands for accomodation.
    You are totally correct Sir John that building homes without the a proper total infrastructure just compounds existing problems.

    1. Everhopeful
      June 9, 2022

      In old recipes they say “knead until it is enough”.
      When will enough be enough?
      When we can no longer stand, sit, move? See the ground? Breathe?
      This is being done to newcomers as well as to us old “don’t counters”.
      Welcome to our country. We have no homes, no heat, no food but welcome just the same!

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    June 9, 2022

    Our local council is asking what kind of husing we want. I doubt they will listen but I said we need more suitable homes for the elderly to buy and rent because not all of us want to live in large houses as we get older. We would like to remain local so as to be near friends we have made but often new builds are large executive homes and not bungalows. We have plenty of homes for families but nothing much provided for the elderly. A small community of homes for them would in many cases be welcomed. We have also found that as housing increases public transport is taken away. Only yesterday I was speaking with a gentleman living on his own in a village close to Oswestry. His bus has been taken out of service so he can no longer get into town. He’s finding life difficult and lonely and yet new homes are going up everywhere but no bungalows. Sensible planning is necessary for all age groups.

    1. graham1946
      June 10, 2022

      A few years ago we were looking at new build bungalows and were told by the builder that bungalows were banned under the Labour government because they take up so much land compared to a rabbit hutch house. Maybe it was a sales pitch but it does seem strange that you can’t seem to find any being built these days as far as I can see.

  5. oldwulf
    June 9, 2022

    How are the housing developments going to be policed ?
    Local authorities cannot be trusted.

  6. turboterrier
    June 9, 2022

    Somebody, anybody, everybody and nobody is the current state of play when it comes to development of housing. Like the Beatles song:-
    He is just a nowhere man
    Living with his no where plans
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
    Developers have no wish to build in poorer areas. The main construction costs are very similar its the land that is expensive and the costs of improving or providing infrastructure in built up areas it is easier to connect to. It is only when New Town type schemes are designed will developers move away from the most desirable areas of around London and the South East. That then attracts business’s.

  7. Sea_Warrior
    June 9, 2022

    Moving (slightly) off-topic, reporting on the government’s intention to extend ‘right to buy’ to housing association houses is already causing me to think that the policy will be an ill-considered mess – probably put together on the back of a fag-packet by the PM, some Spads and, maybe, a minister. I hope you will interrogate the responsible minister carefully! If any discounts offered are substantial, then other tax-payers, already hammered by their own housing costs and energy bills, will be picking up the tab. And that’s just not fair.

  8. Everhopeful
    June 9, 2022

    Too much immigration = too many houses.
    The country is full.
    “Levelling up”!! The globalist mantra. Apparently HS2 is a “levelling up” exercise and thus untouchable.
    Kindly direct me towards one of these underinhabited places!


    Yesterday was a debate about the Levelling up Departments draft Bill. This department is not responsible for migration policy. My wish to see lower migration is well known and has been communicated to the Home Office. we were time limited to just 4 mins in the debate

    1. Everhopeful
      June 9, 2022

      Reply to reply
      Sorry. I didn’t mean to conflate the two.
      I know, as we all do, that you work incredibly hard for the side of the Light.
      I just wish that you could become PM.

  9. Sharon
    June 9, 2022

    I agree with lack of joined up thinking with regards to house building. There seems to be a Wild West approach, no forward thinking. Builders build flats in an area where there are mostly houses, which can then be left empty for ages, and then can change the democratic of the area. And new builds seem to have tiny rooms… though this seems to be changing slightly.

    Driving around Sussex, and generally in the south of England, looking at some of the new builds tacked onto villages, I could weep for those villagers. They are absolute eye sores. Masses of houses …. just dumped/tacked on to existing communities.

    However, some house builders seem to manage attractive looking houses, situated in sensible locations that blend in with the surrounding area. So it can be done!

  10. SM
    June 9, 2022

    I learned 30yrs ago that there was no requirement for infrastructure availability or potential to be considered when major housing development plans were being considered by local Councils – I was amazed then at the very obvious problems that might ensue were totally ignored, and I continue to be amazed now.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      June 9, 2022

      Yes SM. Worthing in Sussex and the surrounding areas are at imminent risk of water shortages and yet plans for 375 new homes on top of the many hundreds already under construction have just been approved. Worthing is a horrible place now with too much traffic and no extra hospital beds, no NHS dentists, not enough GPs and overcrowded schools with pupils speaking no end of different languages.

      1. Peter
        June 9, 2022


        Sorry to hear about Worthing. It used to have a pleasant A road in from London. Turn right when you see the sea and park up for free along the front.

        Decent enough shops too. A neighbour used to go there for Christmas shopping instead of using the flagship Bentalls and other big stores just down the road.

    2. Mickey Taking
      June 9, 2022

      Well in the case of Hatch Farm development to the west of Wokingham town, several builders obtained a section and have built at a fairly rapid rate. In the Plan that was agreed a new school was to be provided, on questioning representatives at a public viewing I was answered that it would be built last and at the very end of the land – where it is indeed a flood plain. I commented that it would seem ridiculous to position a school where the Loddon rises and floods. I was told ‘well schools typically don’t use playing fields in winter months, so no real problem’.! I’ve yet to notice any preparation for a possible school, but culverts were put in place early in order to knock back criticism. In the meantime lots of houses built, more underway – but no school!

  11. Iain Moore
    June 9, 2022

    It has been pointed out that in the 5 hour debate in the Commons, not one MP raised the issue of immigration driven over population that is leading to the housing shortage and over development of our country . It is a failure of representation that not one of the 650 MPs is prepared to raise this issue. With both politicians and media self censoring themselves on the issue, we have arrived at the situation where it is not a question of action, for now they won’t even speak about it.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      June 9, 2022

      Iain. Yes, Farage raised this on GB News last night. I find increasingly that GB News are the only news channel reporting on the many things that are of concern to the general public.

    2. Cheshire Girl
      June 9, 2022


      I watched most of that debate, and noticed that the rate of immigration was never mentioned. Of course Labour would never mention it (they vote for them) but was surprised that the Conservatives, did not mention it. Although Andrew Selous did point out the lack of medical facilities etc. at new developments.

  12. Bloke
    June 9, 2022

    Local people know what they need. The duty of a Planning System is to serve, not decide. Systems are useful in maintaining high standards, preventing bad outcomes and assisting a smooth quality result in the interests of all, not filling every space with overpopulated concrete.

    User demand dictates what is needed. Citizens don’t need a crazy planning system forcing them into an environment they dislike. The notion of unwanted buildings being added to their neighbourhood and owned by overseas absentee landlords increases spoilage at the community’s expense.

  13. Nottingham Lad Himself
    June 9, 2022

    Markets, eh?

  14. Hat man
    June 9, 2022

    Oh, so unfettered private enterprise isn’t the route to follow, and state control over the location of new building is needed? Well, there’s an interesting idea.

    Reply We have a planned system so we need to improve it.There is no movement or majority to scrap planning

  15. a-tracy
    June 9, 2022

    We’re going to have supermarket led homes soon I read. What did you think of John Lewis changing a warehouse into a new home development in Reading? Is this the way forward for all those empty offices?

    Would locals support the building of housing anywhere near their homes if they currently enjoy field views? We’ve lost about six large fields nearby in 30 years, personally, I didn’t complain my home was built on what was a field once.

    As for doctors and school places, people tend to buy their family homes when they start their families or rent a bigger house rather than a flat, 20 years later their children have all grown up and left home and the GP surgeries and schools are down 2 people per house so vacancies open up. Shouldn’t local areas review how many patients each doctor has and what capacity is extra there first and review how many vacant school places there are? In my town schools were closed down just as house building exploded, now there aren’t sufficient school places.

    The vast majority of open space and open land is in the ex-Council areas with the run-down shops with under-utilised space above those shops so they get into a desperate state. They don’t plant anything nice probably because they’d get ripped up, the local cobbles that are put down instead of plants get ripped out and left looking a mess.

  16. Everhopeful
    June 9, 2022

    In a small Suffolk town they ( unfortunately) built some houses on an old orchard near the town centre.
    Some of the houses were designated “ for locals only” which seemed like quite a good idea.

  17. Peter Parsons
    June 9, 2022

    Homes have traditionally been built where there is access to employment. If the government wishes to start seeing housing more evenly distributed across the UK, perhaps it could start by ditching Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “work from the office” edict to civil servants and allowing those roles capable of being performed from anywhere to actually be performed from anywhere.

  18. Mactheknife
    June 9, 2022

    In my area we have more social housing than private, but when developers wanted to build 800 new private homes, the local authority fought it all the way. Its taken government intervention to authorise it. With the new development would come extra services for health, education etc, but my local council didn’t seem to be interested. Our local economy has dwindled to just about one supermarket, the high street was killed off by pedestrianisation (a council decision), and traditional industries have entirely closed, so I really don’t understand the councils attitude. Its almost like they want to wallow in self pity. The council is Labour of course.
    I for one would welcome people with disposable income, new facilities and perhaps new businesses, and a reinvigorated local economy, but not our friends in labour apparently.

    1. a-tracy
      June 10, 2022

      MactheKnife – the target should be for no one area to have more than 15% social housing, and indeed to level up every area to have 15% of their housing social housing (which includes the part-buys in conjunction with the housing associations/councils until the home is 100% owned privately).
      Parties of both colours like to keep their social housing in one borough and then scratch their heads when that area/town experiences poor results in the schools, bad health outcomes, more criminal damage and drug/alcohol abuse most socially deprived wards. It makes it easier to stick that towns rubbish dump on their doorsteps and other unpleasant things.

      1. Mactheknife
        June 12, 2022

        Indeed a-tracy, our local Labour council treats our area like a rubbish dump. ‘Problem families’, ex-cons, drug addicts etc are all moved to our area along with their treatment centres. Their latest wheeze was to try and build gypsy camps in the middle of social housing estates. And they all lived happily ever after….not. Even their own departments railed against it, but apparently they couldn’t find sites in the more affluent areas of town. The town in general is way above the national average for social housing, so I don’t understand the thinking behind blocking new private development.

  19. DavidJ
    June 15, 2022

    I am astonished by the large number of multi-storey apartment blocks being constructed in and around Manchester. I do wonder if the demand is there or if this is the start of a drive to force us all into such accommodation in compliance with the various UN Agendas.
    On a positive note I do get the impression that Boris is beginning to realise the huge and unacceptable cost of his globalist inspired “net zero”.

    Perhaps you would have a word in his ear Sir John and instil some common sense?

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