CLA Wales urges Welsh Government to look to landowners in addressing the undersupply of housing

18 November 2013

'Tackling the housing crisis in Wales,' CLAs new lobbying document addressing the housing stock shortfall of more than 14,300 homes every year in Wales was presented to Housing and Regeneration Minister Carl Sargeant in Cardiff Bay this week (Wednesday 24 Sept).

CLA Policy Director in Wales, Karen Anthony comments: "The report outlines the housing contribution already made by CLA members and their willingness to step up to the challenge ahead if the conditions are right."

Calling on the Welsh Government (WG) to deliver policy change through the scheduled 2013 Welsh housing Bill and Housing Act thereafter, the hard hitting report identifies the lack of ability to bring land forward for development as a crucial factor behind historic, long term housing undersupply.

Acknowledging the partially successful efforts to improve the rural economy via Technical Advice Note 6 (TAN6) and welcoming the move towards ever more strategic planning in Wales, the report highlights the inflexibilities within the current tax regime and the limited ability of the WG to deliver change.  

"Our affordable housing tax reform proposals are aimed at existing and new stock with market- rented housing tax reform aimed at new stock only," says Mrs Anthony, who adds that the fundamental concern with the current direction of travel in Welsh housing policy is that regulation is heavily promoted to the detriment of housing supply for both existing and new stock.

In essence the report identifies the need for more homes for rural economy working, more retirement homes and second dwellings on agricultural holdings allowing older people to pass on farm holdings clearing the tenancy logjam. It also recommends that TAN6 should be amended to ensure that open market housing can be delivered in rural areas.

Recommendations are also made to local authorities to use selective licensing schemes rather than mandatory landlord licensing to tackle criminal landlords.

With the expectation for improved green credentials, the CLA stresses the need for a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) methodology to be developed by 2015 to acknowledge the challenges regarding traditional properties without cavity walls.  

Mrs. Anthony concluded by referring to Redrow, Wales's largest housing building company, who last week stated that Wales was continuing to suffer from a lack of government-back initiatives compared with most of Britain where both the Help to Buy and the Funding for Lending schemes were helping to boost the number of house buildings over the past 12 months.

Redrow claimed South Wales was the only one of its nine regional businesses not experiencing notable growth, hampered by a difficult planning environment