Labour’s Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning John Healey MP visited a housing development in Aston, Sheffield last month to highlight the importance of local house building companies being able to deliver more new homes.
Mr Healey was visiting the Parklands View development in Aston, built by Sheffield-based firm W. Redmile & Sons. The visit was organised by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and followed a roundtable discussion between the Shadow Minister and a number of locally-based house builders.
John Healey MP said: “The share of new homes built by small and medium-sized builders has fallen to little more than 25% in recent years, compared to two thirds in the late 1980s. This is one reason why we are currently failing to build the number of new homes we need. We need more of these smaller, locally-based house builders and we need them to be able to grow and increase their output.”
Walt Selby, General Manager of W. Redmile & Sons, a family-owned firm and a member of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “As a company, we’ve been building homes for local people since the 1950s. However, the planning system as it currently works can make this inordinately difficult to do. There are lots of ways in which the planning process could be improved to the benefit of everyone, and we want to work in partnership with local councils and local communities to achieve this. That’s why it was so useful to be able to go through with Mr Healey some of the barriers we face. We want to tackle these barriers and build even more homes for local people over the coming years.”
Mr Healey concluded: “I really appreciated the chance to meet with local firms and those from the wider Yorkshire region to discuss the barriers stopping them building more new homes, including difficulties accessing finance and navigating the planning system. Labour is committed to listening to and working with housebuilders of all types to find ways of building the homes we need and increasing home ownership, which has plummeted since 2010. It’s only by doing this that we’ll be able to help address the cost of the housing crisis, which is having such a damaging impact on many young people and families.”