The recent National Audit Office report projections suggest that there will be at least 227,000 new households formed each year between 2011 and 2021. This is substantially higher than the annual average of 166,000 extra homes in England over the last 10 years. Delivery of the Government's million new homes ambition by 2020 will require 174,000 net additions each year. This scale of delivery comes with a degree of pain, not least for local politicians whose mandate is to resist any change.
The fundamental challenge the Coalition Government created by abolishing regional planning is that responsibility for housing delivery now rests entirely at a local level. There are very few authorities that have embraced this responsibility with any great enthusiasm, and we have a housing crisis that reflects this position.
As a consequence, we must expect a Housing White Paper that seeks to impose terms for the delivery of housing and it may well be for this reason that its publications has been delayed. We know the Housing Minister has endorsed the recommendations of the Local Plan Expert Group and, if followed, this will bring prescriptions for housing delivery that will bring pressure for new urban extensions and green belt release. Again, this isn't an easy message to send to local politicians.
The really interesting point for practitioners is also the clear drive to simplify the delivery system. This is a likely subtext to the White Paper and the response of the industry to this potentially unseen process of change will need some careful thought. We can see the seeds of this in the emerging enthusiasm at appeal for inquisitive hearings rather than long interrogative public inquiries.