“The housing minister, Gavin Barwell, has told the world’s housebuilders that if they cannot find enough land on which to build new homes they can “come and see me” and he will try to help.
Barwell told developers at the world’s biggest property conference in Cannes on Thursday that he wanted to be “clear and unequivocal” that he was there to help them build hundreds of thousands of new homes to help fix the UK’s housing crisis.
“If you’ve got parts of the country where you want to build homes and you’re struggling to find land, you come and see me and I will then raise those issues with the relevant local authorities,” he told investors at the UK government’s first promotional stand on the famous waterfront in the south of France. “I don’t want people who want to build unable to do so because they can’t find the sites they want.
“That’s an offer to anyone in this room – if you’re struggling to find sites you [can] come talk to me and I’ll try and do something about it.” …
… Barwell told property industry figures that he wanted to “change the politics” of housebuilding so that local people did not automatically protest at the suggestion of new construction. The Croydon MP also vowed to have “hard discussions” with local politicians who held up development.
Barwell said he would try to make sure housebuilding projects came with fresh infrastructure investments to allow communities to cope with additional residents. He also said more needed to be done to ensure newbuild homes were of good quality and design.
“People welcome homes that are really innovative in design, or fit in with the local area,” he said. “What they don’t like are homes that look like they could have been plonked down in any area of the country.”