Or go to the Doctors? Or drive down a congested road? Me neither.
But returning from the party conferences over the last two weeks I was left with a sense that many people seem to think that new homes, in themselves, create infrastructure demands rather than the population growth they are there to serve.
Those of us who work in housing delivery know that housebuilders are only allowed to build an amount of houses equating to the projected local population growth which will be happening anyway. We pray to the God of OAN.
Building homes doesn’t create population growth but in a civilised society new homes are needed to accommodate said projected population growth. It is the population growth which creates the infrastructure pressures not the act of laying some mortar on top of a brick.
When children ask, “Mummy how are babies made?” no parent has ever answered, “well darling, firstly someone builds a house”.
Moving on from the slight facetiousness three important points are raised.
- Clearly new housing can influence patterns of migration and, whilst the vast majority of our customers come from within 5 miles of the site, Barratt recognises the need to better align new infrastructure provision and new homes provision.
- CIL is the current approach to linking infrastructure investment to housing investment. It is a gigantic mess. There is a review underway. Will it ever be published? Will it ever be acted upon? It is certainly needed.
- We housebuilders need to raise our game on this point. Doctors’ surgeries, train carriageways and local roads are going to get busier due to population growth which is going to happen anyhow. Building new homes is often the only way to secure improved or new infrastructure and facilities.
New homes should be regarded as the potential solution to local infrastructure issues, and definitely not the cause. Yet this week has reminded me we are not getting this message across.
Mea culpa and note to self.