Councils in England have an important role to play in make sure enough new homes are built in the right places and need to be in the frontline of new home construction, according to the Government.
They need to work to put years of not building enough homes behind them and use the removal of the cap on how much they can borrow to build to take on more, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing told the County Councils Network Conference.
‘Because successive Governments of all stripes, have failed to build enough homes, we’ve faced the challenge of a generation. The last time Britain was building enough homes, our councils were making a huge contribution. Again today, councils want to step up and play their part. But they need to borrow more to build more,’ he said.
‘It’s why the Chancellor’s confirmation at the recent budget that we will remove the cap on how much councils can borrow to build more I think is such a game changer. Councils will once again be on the front line of house building and it’s been great to see how warmly this has been welcomed by councils up and down the country,’ he added.
He praised councils for being ambitious on their outlook to new home building and said that the delivery of the next generation of social housing is in their hands.
‘I think there is a real opportunity to drive innovation and look at different ways in which that can be provided. But county councils’ involvement won’t just end here, because a key part of ensuring we have a housing market that works for everyone is to make sure we build to last,’ he told the audience.
He urged councils to use the opportunity to be more design orientated. ‘When it comes to initiatives such as neighbourhood planning, county councils can engage well and ensure buildings reflect local tastes and preferences,’ he explained.
He added that it has already been shown how neighbourhood plans can transform communities and help alleviate the housing crisis in the process.