‘The next generation’ of new towns will be built under Labour government

During the Labour political party conference, Sir Keir Starmer announced plans to create 1.5 million new homes and new towns to address current shortages. 

At the conference, which is currently taking place in Liverpool, Sir Keir Starmer said he would pave the way for a ‘decade of national renewal’ in his speech to become the next UK Prime Minister, which lasted for just over an hour.

man in yellow shirt and blue denim jeans jumping on brown wooden railings under blue and

‘No more land banking. No more inertia in the face of resistance. A future must be built: that is the responsibility of serious government,’ said Mr Starmer. ‘It’s time to build 1.5 million new homes across the country…new infrastructure, roads, tunnels and power stations.’

He added: ‘It’s a future with more beautiful cities, more prosperous towns, new parks, and green spaces…Sometimes the old labour ideas are right for new times.

‘We’ll get shovels in the ground, cranes in the sky, and build the next generation of labour new towns.’

With regards to proposing over one million new homes will be created, Mr Starmer claimed these would be delivered within the next five years of the next parliament, arguing more housing was central to delivering economic growth.

Following this announcement, experts within the industry have welcomed the plans. Lawrence Turner, director of Boyer, said: ‘We welcome plans to build the next generation of new towns, a move crucial to tackling to UK’s housing crisis.

‘Successfully delivering new towns will require a comprehensive review of the use of the green belt, ensuring a balance between fostering sustainable development and preserving green belt function.

‘Endorsing the new towns concept, we acknowledge issues with its feasibility given the current Compulsory Purchase powers, the scarce resources of local planning authorities, and the preliminary nature of these plans. The current CPO regime is slow-moving, complex, and resource-hungry, with few local authorities committing to the full use of CPO powers to deliver new development. Extensive reforms will therefore be needed to CPO procedures to expedite new town delivery.’

Lawrence added: ‘It’s commendable that new homes are being prioritised in areas with considerable unmet housing needs, but it’s equally vital to realise that much of southern England matches this description.

‘Thus, it’s paramount to ensure the new towns’ viability and deliverability. Ongoing involvement and discussion from representatives across all political parties will be key in the successful establishment of these new communities.’

Against this backdrop, within his speech Keir Starmer also addressed the ongoing climate crisis. Whilst promising to deliver more homes in England he stated labour would not be using the green belt to achieve this.

‘Labour is the party that protects our green spaces,’ Mr Starmer said. ‘But where there are clearly ridiculous uses of it, disused car parks, dreary wasteland – not a green belt, a grey belt, sometimes within a city’s boundary – then this cannot be justified as a reason to hold our future back.’

The political party has said they expect the majority of up-front investment in the new towns to come from the private sector, with local areas bidding for new towns required to seek out private supporters.  

Image: Josh Olalde


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