With the urgent need for new housing in the UK, the Government planning policy is one very much of ‘get it done’, to coin an overused phrase.
Lack of supply is a constant driver of price rises and this basic market force is increasingly pricing those with even above average salaries out of the market, so when one talks about urgent action it really is a case of supplying ordinary people with a roof over their heads. The private rental market can only support so much and with record rent increases this sector is also becoming unaffordable.
WHAT TO BUILD
In some rural areas, Strategic Planning is fast expanding the larger conurbations, and smaller Neighbourhood Plans are allocating what is sustainable. The question that house builders must solve, however, is what to build where; what design, size and cost will best satisfy the demand in any given location. It is perhaps an easier question to answer on the edges of larger towns and cities, where the public sector will employ thousands of staff and average incomes are easier to calculate, but the edge of a village in North Dorset, South Wiltshire or South Somerset will attract a very different demographic.
We are often asked by developers, landowners and parish councils to comment on our perception of demand. With the post-Covid era approaching and with it the exodus from Cities, family homes will always be needed, while affordable housing is an obvious requirement to keep young people in the area that they were born in. A sensible mix of these, with additional units is often the answer, but builders must not scrimp on quality; an offence that some have been prone to.
THE BEST DESIGNS
As a rural agent dealing with a slightly more upmarket product we are big fans of the Ben Pentreath style of build, most notably seen in the hugely successful Duchy of Cornwall Poundbury development, and skillfully brought to life by builders CG Fry. We are lucky enough to have a development of similar, vernacular design on our doorstep here in Tisbury and more are cropping up all over the region. The concept of a variety of architectural styles within a constrained area is not only pleasing to the eye in terms of design, but the properties are also solidly built.
We can’t all live in an aesthetically pleasurable environment, but quality and increasingly green credentials are a must to sustain value, environment and enjoyment, so one can only hope that the right builders get the options on developments and manage to produce housing to be proud of.