Housing is a key issue in Basildon District and like most the country we have suffered under Labour's incompetent planning regime. This has forced the construction of flats instead of houses and developments against local opposition, all in the service of top-down targets driven by unelected quangos. In this context the publication of a Conservative green paper on housing is very interesting, and there is certainly much in there of interest. The good news is that the whole Regional Spatial Strategy nonsense whereby a bunch of know-nothings try and plan housing for the whole Ease of England gets the boot. Why anyone thought that central planning would be more successful for housing than it was for Soviet tractor production is beyond me, but under a Conservative government it goes. Power would be vested back to local Councils and local communities, with local Councillors no longer constrained in acting as the representatives of their communities on planning matters. This goes hand in hand with measures to encourage the building of homes at a local level and an innovative 'right to move' for social tenants. There is also the welcome abolition of the Home Information Packs and a promise on further reform of the insanely complicated Local Development Framework process.
As the paper lays out very clearly, the net effect of all of the Labour bureaucracy has been that we have been building fewer homes and then the wrong type of home. Local accountability and planning will probably mean more building, but actually of the homes people want to live in. This has two major beneficial effects, firstly people get homes, but secondly we have a chance to avoid the cyclic housing boom-bust that has characterised Labour in government.
All we need now is an election.