It has already been widely reported that it was an unusual (and delayed) Queen's Speech this week that sets out the government's priorities for the next parliamentary session.
It is difficult to know what YIMBYs should make of it. Naturally it was dominated by the issue of Brexit but there was little mention of housing.
On the one hand, the Speech (written by the government) said that "proposals will be brought forward to...help ensure more homes are built"; on the other hand, there was no mention of any primary legislation to ensure bold action on this issue.
For those who like detail, page 72 of the briefing document that came with the Queen's Speech provided a bit more clarity. Theresa May's government intends to continue to increase housebuilding through measures set out in the Housing White Paper (which was published in February 2017).
A key part of this is increasing transparency around the control of land, to "free up more land for new homes in the right places". This will mean maximising the use of surplus public land. Speaking of which, a report has been published on how TfL, as one of London's largest landowners, is making progress on plans to develop much of its public land.
The London Assembly report, "Homes Down the Track" says that TfL needs to take radical steps to meet its target of starting on sites by 2020 that will deliver 10,000 homes. It also has a number of recommendations that we have tweetedabout this week.
The Foreword by Andrew Boff AM, Deputy Chair of the Housing Committee, says that "London needs thousands more homes, and using public land is one way to help deliver homes at lower prices…what's not to like?" We tend to agree.
The findings of the London Assembly report will provide useful lessons for using public land for housing elsewhere in the UK. While there is a great opportunity to use surplus public land for housing, we expect that some will see this as being controversial - this means that the support from YIMBYs will be crucial.
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