While almost everyone agrees that more housing is needed, often the traditional attitude of locals towards ‘new developments’ is that more housing is needed ‘somewhere else’.
Andy Scott, Chairman of Rel Capital discusses the shifting attitudes which are needed to encourage more urban new builds .
Last month, YouGov’s latest research revealed that 57% of Londoners were now in favour of new builds, marking the beginning of the YIMBY – Yes in my back yard. Over the last few decades we have witnessed property prices sky rocket, but we have been at the mercy of the NIMBYs of the world, who have chosen to put their needs above that of additional housing.
Before now, we had only witnessed whisperings of the YIMBY movement in different areas of the country. In Southampton for instance Eastleigh Borough Council have made a bold move to work with developers earlier this year. The leader of the council, Keith House, decided to use the council’s own resources and funding to acquire land while also buying stock directly from developers to help boost the local market and increase supply. This pro-development approach is set to provide 2,000 more homes in the local area than the government had stipulated. Not only does this solution benefit the local area, but it also provides the much need boost for developers.
Housing Schemes being held back by NIMBYs
I have 12 different schemes currently in planning for 100 new homes, but my hands have been tied behind my back, delaying schemes for months, sometimes years while I battle NIMBYs. We design great schemes to ensure we keep planning officers happy; they are the professionals and they should make planning decisions.
While there is no clear guidance as to who should be responsible for boosting the housing in local areas, it is initiatives like this which will help address the housing shortage we as a country are facing. It costs the average Londoner 14.5 times their annual salary to buy a home and this cost has hit millennials the hardest with the number of homeowners in the 25-29 age bracket dropping by 50 percent since 1990.
The complex reasons people oppose new housing developments
The opposition to development is varied, sometimes farcical, often amusing. I recently had one man complain about the impact my new development would have on his sex life, as the building would overlook their bedroom. This was quickly resolved by me offering to buy him curtains!
With that said however, the one that stands out to me is the NIMBY’s claim that new developments would disrupt their ‘community’. The NIMBY’s are the first to complain when the local school, post office or pub close are not supported yet fail to take responsibility.
The benefits multiple backgrounds can bring to a community
The NIMBY view fails to take into account the new sense of balanced community that can come from a great mix of backgrounds living in the same area to ensure a continued sense of community for generations to come. This sense of community will stop the continual isolation of those who need help and didn’t have the advantage of capitalising on an affordable property market 20 years ago, and two decades of capital appreciation that followed.
The fact that the bank of Mum and Dad is the ninth biggest lender in the UK is evident that we need more affordable housing for the masses and should be encouraging all generations to get on board and support new quality developments, whilst ensuring all the usual checks and balances are carried out to ensure high quality design and no harm.
All I can hope is that the government’s support of developments filters down so that we can continue to see the rise of the YIMBY.