We will overcome the NIMBYs new Housing Minister tells BBC

Matthew Pennycook. the Labour Government's new Housing Minister, confirms that his party wants to build "large scale communities", as it drives towards its target of 1.5 million new homes.

pennycook housing minister

New Housing Minister Matthew Pennycook (main picture) has confirmed Labour’s promise to build several new towns even if it means clashing with ‘nimbys’.

In one of his first media interviews as a member of the Government, he said the party was committed to creating “large scale communities of all kinds”.

Labour has set a target of building 1.5 million new homes within five years, and building new towns in England and Wales will be part of that drive.

Building boom

The party said before the general election it will ‘push’ big developers to start building an unspecified number of new towns within a year.

Launching the initiative, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, who is now Deputy Prime Minister, said she wanted to see a building boom similar to the one that followed the Second World War.

Pennycook told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, the Government wanted to avoid “private new estates thrown up in the middle of nowhere without the right infrastructure, like schools or GP surgeries”.

And they had to overcome “a minority of people who will always resist development at any cost”. He said an independent taskforce would be set up to find the right locations for new towns.

Gold standard

Rayner’s plan includes a ‘New Towns Code’ with a ‘gold standard target’ of 40% affordable homes.

She will write to councils instructing them to prioritise brownfield and ‘grey belt’ land for building.

And Rachel Reeves said in her first speech as Chancellor earlier this week, that Labour will reinstate local housing targets, and reform the planning system to ensure infrastructure to support new homes is also delivered. Former Tory minister Nick Boles is believed to be lined up as a new ‘Planning Tsar’ to help drive through the changes.

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