The future of housing supply in the UK is on everybody’s lips but this isn’t just a recent phenomenon.
Successive governments of all colours have consistently failed to deliver a strategy that works to create the volume and correct mix of housing the UK needs. Lack of infrastructure often continues to be a sticking point with increased pressure on existing roads and railways restricting potential new development sites from coming forward quickly enough to deliver the new homes we need. In my opinion the way key infrastructure projects are funded needs a fundamental rethink in order to speed up delivery.
Whilst consultations with all stakeholders is important, allowing this process to take too long is hindering housing delivery and ultimately driving up costs for people looking to buy or rent.
As the pace of technology increases and advancements are made, and with Blockchain set to affect all areas of business including property transactions, future-proofing new housing is also important. This includes simple things such as better insulation and factoring in design elements suitable for an ageing population who may wish to stay in their homes longer.
Perhaps the most fundamental element in any new housing project though is adequate connectivity. As more and more people work from home, new homes across the UK must include fast and reliable broadband, and with fewer people using landlines adequate mobile phone signal is also vital. This particularly effects our region with so many rural areas surrounding Bristol meaning thousands of people working from home.
Bristol is extremely well connected generally, but you only have to go as far as Brent Knoll just nine miles down the road from Weston-super-Mare to discover the situation isn’t so rosy there! In the village of Miserden in Gloucestershire for example the broadband speed at one point last year was reported in the Independent as being slower than at the base camp at Mount Everest! This just isn’t good enough for people trying to run a business from home or a rural business park.
Whilst some improvements are being made across the UK networks, in my view the government have to do more to support business by improving connectivity. Enterprise is the lifeblood of the UK economy and in order for entrepreneurs to deliver the jobs of tomorrow in an increasingly competitive global business world, we must have the tools at our disposal today.