Shifting Housing Targets from the South to the North will just mean shifting Greenfield Housing from South to North and hitting Red Wall Seats

What happens if you shift the math in the standard method so that there would be more housing in places like the Midlands and the North. One way suggested by some to do this would be to remove the affordability uplift, insisted by the treasury, so that you no longer targeted more houses in places with high job growth and productivity and hence high house prices.

The assumption seems to be that there is a vast mass of deliverable brownfield sites in the North and Midlands that would be built out.

It wouldnt lead to any more houses being built on brownfield sites in the North and would just lead to a collapse in housing targets nationally. Let me explain.

Firstly the ‘urban uplift’ has had the opposite of its intended effect, outside London the vast majority of affected cities had already in emerging local plans maxxed out their brownfield deliverable and developable capacity. The urban uplift has used that up so cities like Sheffield and Derby now have to look at major Greenfield expansion. The only place with headroom was Liverpool. But Liverpool was already proposing housing numbers above its method so until those numbers are built out new net new actual houses will be built. This will occur in many midlands/northern towns like Doncaster which have ‘jobs led’ rather than housing led targets. So the net effect of moving numbers from Southern Towns to midlands/northern towns will be less housing being built and planned for in the South and less than the loss of houses being planned for in the South being planned for and built in the South.

The impact of such a change would be to shift numbers up to the satellite towns and remoter rural around major cities which arn’t already planning jobs led growth (mainly Labour Towns btw. Their is a name for these places the media uses doesn’t it, errrr the Red Wall. Im sure Nat Litch and Turleys are whirring there famous spreadhseets as we speak so look at the impact of such a putative policy.

So it seems Govy has invented a ‘red wall uplift’ designed to maximise development of Greenfield housing in precisely the seats the conservatives have to win. Bravo what a political genius he is. If you dont think there would be a backlash look at the protests around Greater Manchester and th near collapse of the Greater Manchester Plan.

The standard method is not sacrosanct. I was always uncomfortable with it drifting from being a purely objective demographically based number. If growth areas need more houses that is a matter for strategic and regional planning. If poorer areas need funding to build needed houses that arnt viable that should be the purpose of spatially focuused regional policy. What is clear though is that quick dumb fixes like the urban uplift and the talked about ‘red wall uplift’ are likely just to shift the places where NIMBYs wave there placards and where Nimbys stop voting tory. Cant cant ever deal with NIMBYs by playing there game, which ultimately would be a policy of people not existing, or as the times suggested some MPs had suggested that Northerners should stop coming down South (Givy you should have stayed in Aberdeen mate as your demanding a Greenfield home in Surrey now – your an immigrant, did you say freedom of movement?).

So you cant base policy on the margin of voters that Nimby floating voters, you have to base it on where you can gain votes on floating younger housing deprived voters.