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Devo Home: A double devolution of housing to people and places

Publication Details

A new ResPublica publication

ResPublica, in partnership with GallifordTry, Peabody, Places for People and Trowers & Hamlins, sets out a radical vision of double devolution to tackle the housing crisis.

We are building less than half the number of homes needed to meet both population growth and tackle the backlog caused by decades of undersupply; 1.4 million families sit on social housing waiting lists; private rents have hit a record high and the average home costs 10 times the average salary.

The policy recommendations set out in this paper outline a model for the double devolution needed to address the nation’s housing crisis. We argue that the only way to plug the shortage of affordable housing is through the creation of new local institutions – Local Place Partnerships – that devolve housing to people and places.

Local Place Partnerships can dramatically accelerate home building by bringing together all the interested parties: private developers, housing associations, residents, civil society and local business and addressing their concerns and wishes through one decision point. Quality Assured by Department for Communities and Local Government, these new bodies can offer the long-term vision and determination needed to tackle the housing crisis.

With power to instigate Local Place Partnerships devolved to residents, people will be able to take real control of housebuilding and shape the future of their neighbourhoods, building more to a higher quality in a shorter time frame.

Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said:

“For too long, housing policy has been controlled by Whitehall, and the lack of local authority involvement has been a primary driver behind the failure to build new homes at the scale needed.

“The only way that we will mitigate the Whitehall ‘command and control’ model, and an old local authority led model is by introducing a new institution that draws a wide range of partners together to coordinate the building of genuinely affordable and aesthetically pleasing homes, and provide the infrastructure needed for communities to thrive.

“Local Place Partnerships can offer the ecosystem of support and single point of decision making needed to ensure the swift delivery of the homes we need.”

Shadow Housing Minister, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, said:

“We are in the middle of a housing crisis – home ownership is at a 30 year low whilst rents are at a record high.

“We need to encourage new ways of thinking about housing, so I welcome the contribution ResPublica are making to the debate on some of the key challenges, such as how we deliver affordable housing, encourage home ownership, and empower local authorities to meet the needs of their residents.”

Conservative MP Bob Blackman said:

 “Despite significant improvements in the housing market since 2010, we still need to do more to helpfirst-time buyers and hard-working families – whether they own their own home or rent.

“Transformative ideas like Local Place Partnerships are needed to give local people more control of planning, unlock homes on brownfield land and ultimately provide the homes and infrastructure local communities want and need. I therefore warmly welcome ResPublica’s proposals.”

Sir Michael Lyons, author of the Lyons Housing Review, said:

“ResPublica have come up with another lively contribution to active debates on devolution and the housing crisis. They focus on the bigger role that local councils can play. They are right. The mobilisation of the skills, assets and other resources of Local Government is critical in achieving a step change in the supply of new homes.

“More important still is their potential contribution to the difficult tasks of designing great places and winning public consent for development. ResPublica recognise this and the importance of Councils working in partnership with others.”

Sir Merrick Cockell, former chair of the LGA, stated:

“For local leaders, nothing is more pressing or less easily solved than housing. What is certain is that solutions can only be found if builders, developers, planners and councils work together. Where they have the results are coming out of the ground. I don’t normally see solutions in new structures but ResPublica have made a good case for local authority-led Local Place Partnerships and if we are going to build many more homes then new solutions have to be found.”

David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People, said:

“With place-making at the heart of the new Local Place Partnerships and with the potential to streamline the planning process, this is an initiative we fully support. We need new and radical ideas like this to help boost supply, quality and affordability. The sooner those ideas can be debated the better, so that we can start to build the momentum and solutions required to genuinely make a difference to our housing shortage.”

Professor Michael Oxley, director of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Housing and Planning, added:

“ResPublica has made an important contribution to the pool of fresh ideas that are needed to bring about the very large increases in house building that are urgently needed in the UK. The proposal for new local powers for land value capture to help finance infrastructure and affordable housing is, in particular, worthy of serious consideration”.

For more information about this project please contact David Fagleman, Project Manager – Prosperity Programme, ResPublica at david.fagleman@respublica.org.uk or 0207 222 6552.

Catch up with the audio recording of the event here:

Devo Home Audio

Some of the twitter highlights from the event:

ConHome: We need bold action to tackle the housing crisis

Our Policy & Projects officer, Edward Douglas, calls for radical new housing plans as we prepare to launch our Devo Home report....

Left Foot Forward: Unless we think big, the housing crisis won’t end

The author of our Devo Home report on UK housing, David Fagleman, shares his thoughts on the need for big ideas in tackling the crisis at hand...

London Live: David Fagleman on the launch of ‘Devo Home’

The author of our report on UK housing, David Fagleman, appeared on London Live discussing the potential impact of the proposals we’d put forward....

  • David Fagleman

    Research Associate

    David worked in ResPublica’s Prosperity Programme from 2013-2015. He worked on several publications including Making Markets Work for the Many: How Civic Finance can open up markets and widen access, Power to the People: The mutual future of our National...

    David Fagleman