Former housing minister Grant Shapps has suggested that the time for radical solutions has come if the UK stands any chance of solving the current housing market problems.
Shapps, who was housing minister from 2010 to 2012, made the comments during a live section of Friday night’s Channel 4 News that examined the housing market.
He suggested that between one and two million new homes need to be built over the next five to ten years.
That would mean up to five sizeable garden cities to be built within the countryside, Shapps suggested.
“We need to build in areas where there aren’t that many people in the first place, thus reducing the difficult of building,” he said.
Referring to comments on the programme by Matt Thomson (pictured, right), Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England that brownfield sites could help make room for new homes and that it “was not necessary to build on the green belt”, Shapps said citing brownfield as the solution to the housing crisis was “conning people”.
Shapps also said that even building an extra 200,000 homes a year – which is often cited as the minimum number to help alleviate the housing crisis – would also not solve anything, and that more radical plans were needed.
During the programme Shapps also conceded that policies he announced during his time at the Department for Communities and Local Government hadn’t been able to relieve pressure on the housing market, and that current minister Alok Sharma – like most recent ministers – was also unlikely to achieve much either.
“Unless we do something on a really big scale then we won’t get the entire market back into balance again,” he said. “I think that needs a complete rethink.”