Labour pledges to double housing supply

Industry has started reacting to Labour's long-awaited review of the housing market carried out by senior civil servant Sir Michael Lyons.

Lyons' review recommends Housing Growth Areas with land assembly powers, and greater powers for planning inspectors to intervene where local authorities are not meeting housing needs.

Labour says it can increase production to 200,000 units a year by 2020, double the current level.

Dan Mitchell, partner in Barton Willmore's Manchester office, said: "We welcome Labour's ambition to build 200,000 homes a year and the North West is now ideally placed to play a significant role in delivering these homes because of the opportunities afforded by the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

"One of the key suggestions in the Lyons Review is for local authorities to collaborate and form New Homes Commissions to build quickly. Greater Manchester will soon have the strategic planning framework in place that will allow it to be one of the first to take advantage of such opportunities.

"The combined land in the region's 10 local authorities allows us to take a much more strategic view of the most appropriate sites on which to build new homes and will see local authorities co-operating to meet the region's housing need rather than acting alone."

Henry Robinson, president of CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, said: "Simplifying the planning process is in everyone's best interests. The review makes it clear that for smaller sites, the process will become more efficient with the use of a red line boundary instead of an outline planning application.

"The review identifies the fundamental problems facing housing in the England, however it fails to recognise the specific housing needs of the rural areas so services such as schools, shops and bus services are retained.

"In England, there are 5.8million people living in settlements with a population of 3,000 or less, which will struggle to remain sustainable if the Lyons Review implementation remains so urban-centric."

Lyons was appointed by Ed Miliband in September 2013 to review housing policy.

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