§ Mr. Durant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he is planning to give to local authorities about the supply of land for private house building.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I have now issued a circular about this to all local authorities in England. It does two main things.60W
First, it asks authorities to ensure that there is, at all times, a five-year supply of land for private house building. The amount and location of that land are to be derived from the housing policies and proposals in approved structure and local plans.
Secondly, it asks authorities to cooperate with local builders and their representative organisations in carrying out assessments of individual sites to ensure that the land making up the five-year supply is both suitable and genuinely available for development within that period.
This two-pronged approach keeps land supply firmly within the context of approved planning policies and, at the same time, provides a mechanism for ensuring that those policies are effectively implemented.
Housing and land markets are highly localised and any problem needs to be tackled locally. I am greatly encouraged by the co-operation that already exists in many areas between local authorities and private house builders and I am seeking to build on that. The responsibility for land supply needs to be clearly accepted where it properly belongs—with the local authorities.