Johnson 'considering measures to compel release of public land for new homes'

A report that the Conservative leader Boris Johnson is considering measures to encourage public bodies to 'release thousands of pockets of under-used land for homes' features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Evening Standard reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson "said he was considering measures to persuade or compel public bodies including Network Rail to release thousands of pockets of under-used land for homes". It goes on to say that Johnson "wants to change Treasury rules so that public bodies get bigger benefits if they let go of unused land, which can then become a housing site". It quotes Johnson saying: "One of the things you’ll remember when I was Mayor was the frustration of having all these pockets of land everywhere, whether owned by Network Rail, the NHS, the MoD."

According to the Guardian, a report commissioned by the Green party has called for "tighter restrictions on paving over front gardens". The recommendations set out in A New Deal for Nature "are designed to protect wildlife and put biodiversity at the centre of government policy", the newspaper says. Other suggestions include turning 20 per cent of Britain into national parks and helping farmers devote 15 per cent of their land to nature. The report, commissioned by Caroline Lucas, the Green party candidate for Brighton Pavilion, and produced by conservationists and nature writers, "advocates for more green spaces in cities through the rewilding of hospital grounds, funded by car parking charges, and pocket parks to ensure no home is more than 1km from a wild green space".

The Sun reports on a new poll suggesting that Tory leader Johnson must "up his social housing offer if he is to win over traditional Labour Leave voters". It claims the poll shows that undecided electors and "Labour Leavers" said "housing was the second most important local issue after the NHS". The poll by trade body the National Housing Federation shows that "voters in Labour heartlands say housing matters more than crime" and 65 per cent of the Labour Leavers "would support the next government if it invested billions in social housing".


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