Housing reform was rightly the centrepiece of the legislative programme unveiled by Gordon Brown.
But the traditional barriers to viability – infrastructure and the undersupply of resources – will need to be addressed if Brown is to achieve the ambitious targets he has set for his tenure in office.
Measures such as the planning reform bill should be welcomed, but the real test of whether the government is successful or not will be in the implementation.
Other measures such as windfall taxes on land with planning permission will not encourage future development and should be carefully considered by the government before introduction. Also, talk of taxes on landbanks is unhelpful in the wider context due to the complication of implementation.
Historically, local authorities have been used to facilitate housing development; however this is not a good use of their asset base. Local authorities will be the first to agree that housing development is not their strength and this vital role should be left to the experts.
It is vital that Brown translates the vision outlined to parliament into actual delivery backed by sufficient Treasury muscle. Only then will he be seen as the leader who delivered the sustainable housing vision that our communities crave.
Graham Kean, head of public sector, EC Harris