The Commons Library Briefing (December 2018) estimates that between 240,000 and 340,000 new houses will need to be built each year to meet the country’s current accommodation needs.
However, the continuous expansion in the building accommodation, without adequate growth in industry and employment, will simply create dorma-towns or pockets of deprivation.
Town planning needs to consider a sense of community, that is to say, people need to be drawn together for some common purpose, and an economic heartbeat is required for such a community to thrive.
The death of community or the construction of heartless and unfocused building schemes has contributed to the fact that more than nine million people in this country express continuous feelings of loneliness.
We desperately need more houses, but more importantly, we need more communities.
Furthermore, we need communities who care.
For example, I read with interest the government’s Green Paper on Social Housing (‘A New Deal for Social Housing’ August 2018) but noted that whilst measures to ensure more effective systems of complaint were frequently mentioned and strategies to help people ‘buy’ their houses were listed, there was not one word written about how to prevent homelessness or how to support individuals with disabilities to access suitable accommodation.
Nor was there any reflection that, along with houses, we need communities with school, workplaces, local and accessible health services and all the things that make a thriving community.
As the new year marches forward, please could I ask that housing planners consider building communities rather than building more and more alcoves of isolation.
Member of the
Socialist Labour Party