A leading think tank has called on whoever becomes the next prime minister to focus on building â€˜beautiful homes and placesâ€™ in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.
In a new report, Policy Exchange has set out a series of policy ideas for whoever succeeds Theresa May at Number 10, including a number of recommendations around housing and planning.
In particular, it calls for developers to be given more incentives to build â€˜beautifulâ€™ homes and places by objectively defining what is meant by â€˜good designâ€™ in the National Planning Policy Framework.
According to the report, a greater emphasis on building beautiful homes will help overcome â€˜nimbyismâ€™ in many areas, where the public â€˜generally take a dim view of new developmentsâ€™.
â€˜Research shows that the public really care about beautiful buildings and places in their area â€“ both the preservation of old ones and the construction of new ones â€“ but they are rarely afforded a say on what is built around them,â€™ the report says.
It also quotes polling commissioned by Policy Exchange, which show 84% of people believe better designed buildings and public spaces can improve peopleâ€™s quality of life and happiness.
The think tank also argues that the next prime minister should increase the number of homes that are purpose-built for older people, which would make â€˜downsizingâ€™ a more worthwhile and attractive option for many baby boomers.
It also recommends the next government aim to replace the Help to Buy scheme â€˜in the next few yearsâ€™ and launch a strategic review of how Whitehall could help first-time buyers get on the property ladder.
The report also reiterates a point first made by Policy Exchange in March that the next government needs to help buildÂ 15 new â€˜millennialâ€™ townsÂ in commuting distance of London to help young people priced out of the capitalâ€™s property market.
In order to do this, it argues that there should be a new Whitehall ministry â€“ the Department for Growth â€“ which could work with the mayor of London and developers to build the new towns.
â€˜It is essential that each new town is beautiful with quality controlled through the developmentâ€™s masterplan and design code,â€™ the report states.
â€˜The level of and access to Green Belt land can be protected when swapping land uses in the local area.â€™
The full report â€“ What do we want from the next prime minister? â€“ is available to readÂ here.Â
Photo byÂ KarstenBergmann (Pixabay)