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Empowering small- and medium-sized house builders will help to alleviate housing crisis

1 August 2014

Small- and medium-sized house builders should have better access to finance and brownfield land to help tackle the housing crisis, concludes a new report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The report, ‘Increasing diversity in the house building sector’ [1], argues that smaller house builders not only offer the ability to produce locally-focused and more energy efficient housing, but should be empowered through national and local initiatives to build more and better homes.

Setting out a series of solutions for increasing the involvement of smaller builders, the report calls for the obligatory identification of small brownfield plots for development; the provision of finance through an investment bank and government guarantees on money loans; a cut in the cost of planning permission for smaller builders; and the introduction of intelligent design codes drawn up collaboratively by local stakeholders.

The report is the first in a series entitled Housing Foresight, which will set out ways to get Britain building.

In 1995 smaller builders were building approximately 40 per cent of housing stock, but last year their market share had shrunk to a quarter in a sector dominated by volume house builders. The sector, however, is currently failing to provide the estimated need of 200,000 new homes per year. A lack of access to land and finance – the result of land banking and the reluctance of banks to lend to SMEs – is holding back small- and medium-sized house builders and stalling house building.

Luke Burroughs, policy and research adviser at CPRE and report author, says:

“Small- and medium-sized house builders used to play a crucial role in providing homes, but for too long now there has been a lack of diversity in the sector. Smaller builders have the potential to build houses to higher standards of energy efficiency and on smaller brownfield sites. If we provide smaller builders with better access to land and finance we can enable them to reinvigorate the industry.”

The report can be accessed here.


Notes to Editors

1. ‘Increasing diversity in the house building sector’ is the first of eight research papers looking at innovative ways to tackle the UK housing crisis. The reports do not set out CPRE’s policy position on housing, but are intended to provoke debate over the future of housing policy. The second report, ‘Residential development, viability and brownfield land’ (working title), should be published in August 2014.

For further information, please contact Benjamin Halfpenny on 020 7981 2819 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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