In its wide-ranging manifesto, Infrastructure for everyone, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) which represents the businesses large and small that design and deliver our national infrastructure, argues for denser brownfield development, built on placemaking principles, to help deal with the national housing crisis.
The Government’s own figures show a recent drop in brownfield development, with 56% of developments on previously developed land, down from 61% in 2016. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has previously estimated that more than one million homes could be built on brownfield sites.
One of a suite of recommendations to enable everyone to own their own home, it warns against overlooking the sites which are more complex, but which naturally encourage a shift to walking, cycling and public transport.
Other ideas include implementing models which allow all parties involved in development to share in the long term uplift of land value, create stability in social housing policy by ensuring a flat 15% provision in any development and incorporate placemaking principles to encourage local buy-in for housing developments.
Chief executive of ACE, Hannah Vickers said: “Successive governments have been notoriously poor at meeting their housebuilding targets and rather than simply setting themselves up to fail ever more spectacularly, they should be looking to the industry for practical solutions to encourage the building of new homes.”
Elsewhere in their manifesto, ACE called for a range of policies to support infrastructure investment which they argue are the foundations of economic growth, notably for the Government to commit to 2% of infrastructure funding and for gaps in energy generation to be tackled as a matter of priority.
Some of these include:
- Continued commitment to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
- Investment in a national EV charging network for electric vehicles.
- Development of a virtual crowdsourced tools to aid in the fight against flooding.
Ms Vickers continued: “I’m delighted to see Infrastructure rightly at the forefront of the political debate. Issues such as housing, transport and utilities are key to delivering both a better society and economic growth. Our practical, pragmatic and achievable policies are ready to go with the right political will.”