The importance of developing housing that meets the needs of communities

Shamez Alibhai is head of community housing and portfolio manager at Man GPM. In his opinion piece in the IPE RA Magazine from April 2021, he explains the importance of developing housing that meets the needs of communities.

He writes “In recent decades, Britain’s housing system has failed to deliver the kind of communities that we need to foster a cohesive, inclusive and meritocratic society. Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, the idea that people ought to be able to flourish no matter where they happen to have been brought up should be a given; the fact that this is still not the case in Britain is a reflection of policies pursued by numerous governments and planners over the course of decades.

“We currently have an inflated housing market where median purchase prices have risen to levels far exceeding median incomes twinned with a social-housing programme whose lengthy waiting lists mean only those most acutely in need have a chance of being allocated habitation. As a consequence, key workers, essential workers and so many more are being forced to live in substandard or inappropriate accommodation, left behind by the market and squeezed out of social housing. The current housing model may have worked 20 years ago, but it does not work now. While commentators agree that housing is in a sorry state, that is where the consensus ends. Diagnoses range from a broken and obstructive planning system, inadequate construction capacity, housebuilder land banks, or widespread NIMBYism [not in my back yard]. Whatever the cause, we need a housing system that is fit for purpose and able to meet the unique societal challenges of life in 21st-century Britain.”

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