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Britains Housing Crisis

In an important article released for publication today (attached), Professor Dr Michael Benfield offers solutions for Britain’s worsening housing crisis.

Addressing the nations need for emergency, transitional and key worker housing, he suggests ways in which emergency housing can be provided for people in urgent priority need. “In the absence of suitable housing stock within the local authority, many councils are forced to rent from private landlords or, most usually, to place people with nowhere to live in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation.” he states, adding that “The costs for this can run into thousands of pounds for just a few weeks.” In his view this form of homeless emergency accommodation is not only hugely expensive, it is also socially undesirable.

The article views today’s emergency as being similar to that of the immediate post war period. The government then introduced a ‘Temporary Housing Programme’, which enabled the rapid erection of prefabricated homes on almost any land that was available. With present and growing demand outstripping that of post war Britain, Professor Benfield argues that we again need to remove or relax planning and building regulations and space standards to enable short term homes to be provided.

Explaining how the wartime coalition government foresaw, prepared for, and enabled temporary homes to be built, the article associates the improved quality of ‘mobile’ homes with high end relocatable and Park Home developments. Linking the way work and social needs are changing with the possibility that today’s immigrants may someday become emigrants, future requirements for permanent settlements are also questioned. This challenges present day planning education and application to become more flexible and future orientated.

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