Building on green belt among 'difficult choices' facing councils and communities in drive to boost housebuilding, Jenrick warns

Councils, communities and government are going to have to make 'difficult choices' as 'substantially more' homes need to be built in all parts of the country, including on green belt, the housing secretary has warned.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. Pic: Getty Images
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. Pic: Getty Images

Robert Jenrick was speaking at an event hosted by social enterprise the Create Streets Foundation at the House of Lords yesterday.

The secretary of state said the government would "not shirk or abdicate" from its responsibility for tackling "an acute housing need in this country".

It would ensure the building of "substantially" more homes, which he acknowledged would involve "difficult decisions".

"We have a huge task as a government," he said. "We built more homes last year than any year in the last 30, but even that was not enough and did not start to truly tackle the affordability challenges we have.

"So we need to build substantially more homes in all parts of the country and all types of homes too, and we are going to be doing that.

"That will make difficult choices for government, for local councils and local communities."

Jenrick went on to say that to avoid "urban sprawl and needless ruination of your countryside" and to protect the green belt, "you will need to be thinking more imaginatively and actively than ever before".

He said: "You’ll need to reimagine high streets and town centres, you will need to build on green belt land, restoring heritage buildings and where you do build in the open countryside you will want to be doing it in a way which we will be proud of in years to come."

Jenrick said the way to build public support for these new homes was "to build not just houses, but homes, and build not just homes, but places".

"We believe we can do this and we believe that it’s not really that difficult," he said.

At the same event, Jenrick said the government will be responding to Building Better Building Beautiful Commission report "later this year" and will be looking to enact "almost all" of its recommendations.

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