Government’s house building ambitions are to be lauded but it will find itself on a collision course

It is early days yet but the new government has not wasted any time in setting out its stall for the next few years.

The best example of that was the new Chancellor and MP for Leeds West and Pudsey, Rachel Reeves.

She vowed to get Britain building again and promised to kick start economic growth.

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The Chancellor announced mandatory housing targets in order to start tackling the chronic shortages that have blighted this country for such a long time.

Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner during their visit to a housing project in London. PIC: Lucy North/PA WireChancellor Rachel Reeves and Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner during their visit to a housing project in London. PIC: Lucy North/PA Wire
Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner during their visit to a housing project in London. PIC: Lucy North/PA Wire

She said: "We will bring back those mandatory housing targets so the answer cannot always be no. So it'll be up to local communities to decide where the housing is built, but it has to be built."

There was also mention of so-called grey belt land being brought back into use.

While the Chancellor is right to hone in on the need to get Britain building again, she needs to be cognisant of the collision course the government is likely headed for.

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It’s one thing sounding tough on Nimbyism but it’s something altogether different when confronted by the nuances of opposition to development.

Environmental campaigners will no doubt want to see poor quality green belt land being restored or put to use for nature once again.

And local concerns about wider infrastructure need to be addressed if the government is going to make progress when it comes to house building.

The country cannot continue to be left in housing purgatory but at the same time a government taking a bulldozer to the countryside would never be forgiven. A cross-departmental approach is needed on national housing strategy. While it is early days, it is a refreshing change from the previous government where a lot of departments became a fiefdom of self-interest.

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