Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-264)|
TUESDAY 2 JULY 2002
260. Surely what you need to do is to win it
with the Government because, as Prince Charles has demonstrated,
the only way in which this works is when you do it first. You
build mixed use, then people move in. If you get a prestige product,
it will work; if you do not get a prestige product it will not
work. But it is not an argument which can be had in the abstract.
(Mr Ben Jackson) I think there needs to be public
support, but, yes, I agree. There are examples where developments
of this kind can be shown to work clearly to win those arguments.
The problem is, obviously, there are thoseand we are not
trying to duck that realitywho would block any kind of
development if it is in their backyard. In that case I think we
do need clear political leadership at a national and local level
to say, "Look, where are the nurses for our hospitals going
to come from? Where are those families that are living in bed
and breakfast going to live?" If everyone says not in my
backyard then of course we do not have that. I think there needs
to be a public debate; I think there needs to be demonstration
to show that it can work and that can be done through collaboration
between Government and housing associations and other players.
261. Or do you remove some of the democratic
processes that exist at the present time? You cannot have it two
ways. I do not know of anyone in the various cases I have read
over a number of years where people involved in NIMBYISM has ever
acquiesced quietly to development.
(Mr Alastair Jackson) At the moment the public does
not see the affordable housing provided.
262. We understand that. What are you suggesting
we can do to get over this.
(Mr Alastair Jackson) To show, with much greater transparency,
that as part of these new housing developments you are getting
affordable housing. It is affordable housing for rent going to
local people. I think those arguments need to be run through political
leadership at local and national level to say that this is something
that housing development is delivering to communities. It is not
just about whoever can afford to pay the most to buy whatever
is being built there. It is also about saying that we have securedand
we can demonstrate that we have securedthis level of affordable
housing out of new developments. That needs to be celebrated much
more and given much more transparency in the planning system.
263. Do you consider the proposals put forward
in the Government's planning green paper would serve to reduce
(Mr Alastair Jackson) I think to reflect what I have
just said, the Government's planning green paper is saying much
more local involvement in plans and in particular planning of
strategic sites and important sites at a local level. I think
that is to be welcomed. I think it is also to be welcomed that
they are saying that the planning gain system should be much more
transparent so it is clear what is coming from the developer,
it is clear what that is producing. A register of such contributions
and a register which includes affordable housing, that will help
in order to demonstrate to the public that it is not just about
the burden of extra construction in their area; it is actually
about meeting a community need and its about meeting that local
264. This question of the community need, housing
misery, if you look back over the last 30 years, how do we compare
now with the last 30 years? Is housing misery as great now as
it ever was? Or has it gone up or down?
(Mr Alastair Jackson) I think if you go and ask that
of somebody spending a year and a half in temporary accommodation
then we still have a huge amount of misery at the moment. If you
ask particularly about people in bed and breakfast accommodation,
people overcrowded in council accommodation and being told by
the council that it might take 70 years for them to move into
something that is big enough for them, I think we still have a
very significant level of misery of affordable housing lack, of
people's lives not being able to be lived to their full extent
because of their inability to fend for themselves on the housing
market and the lack of Government policy that actually recognises
that inability and does something about it.
Chairman: Thank you for your evidence. Could
we have the next set of witnesses, please.