Communities Secretary Sajid Javid stressed the importance of diversity and innovation in housing supply, following a recent visit to Europe to see offsite housing in Potsdam, Germany, and large-scale custom and self build in Almere, The Netherlands.
In an interview with Sky News, he hinted that “ready-to-go” homes will be a vital part of our housing mix, including offsite factory built and custom-made apartment blocks – rumoured to be a component in the White Paper due to be released later this month.
Government has set considerable new housing targets and launched a raft of funds to support the process recently, and the visits are confirmation of the government’s readiness to support a variety of alternative ways to deliver new homes, with a particular focus on the speed of delivery.
“These are made-to-measure, ready-made, ready-to-go modern stylish homes,” he told Sky News. “It can really make a difference, especially in terms of speed; so whereas today you can have a plot that is available for maybe a 1,000 homes – it can take years and years for them to be actually homes that people are ready to move into. I think if we can make that much quicker, maybe a couple of years or even less, it can make a dramatic difference.”
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) January 5, 2017
With the paper already delayed to January from December, a last minute visit to Europe to investigate alternative housing delivery streams is welcome, but does point to some frantic straw clutching behind the scenes. But for custom build it’s great news that the Communities Secretary has seen volume custom build in action. Few in government are able to visit, and it’s a sure-fire way to convince them of the viability of the route. I await the White Paper with interest!