FreshStart Living CEO Charlie Cunningham Responds To Housing Report With His Opinion On How To Solve The UK Housing Crisis

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In response to the Housing Report produced by the National Housing Federation (NHF)which says the government is failing to tackle the UK’s burgeoning housing crisis, affordable property developer FreshStart Living CEO, Charlie Cunningham, has announced his take on the solution to the growing problem.

Charlie Cunningham FreshStart CEO

FreshStart Living CEO Charlie Cunningham has written an open letter to Housing minister, Grant Shapps

Local authorities need to partner with private developers and give us access to the empty buildings and land that is going to waste in high-density urban areas – places where the demand is at its highest.

In response to the Housing Report produced by the National Housing Federation (NHF)which says the government is failing to tackle the UK’s burgeoning housing crisis, affordable property developer FreshStart Living CEO, Charlie Cunningham, has announced his take on the solution to the growing problem.

The report suggests that the government is failing to deliver on five out of ten key housing indicators including housing supply, affordability of the private rented sector and homelessness.

FreshStart Living CEO, Charlie Cunningham believes that the key to solving crisis lies in renovating and redeveloping existing buildings and sites owned by both central and local government. In order to do this, Charlie Cunningham has proposed a need for greater transparency regarding the properties owned by local government.

In a letter addressed to Housing minister Grant Shapps, Charlie Cunningham detailed the solutions he believes could alleviate the housing crisis immediately.

Charlie Cunningham, FreshStart chief executive said:

"The UK is suffering from a major housing shortage and urgently needs to provide more homes.

"There is no single solution to solve the housing crisis, but if my suggestions are taken on board then I believe we can start to see a significant improvement within a short period of time.

"Local authorities need to partner with private developers and give us access to the empty buildings and land that is going to waste in high-density urban areas – places where the demand is at its highest. These buildings and plots of lands are in prime locations and developers can transform these buildings and vacant sites into affordable properties with affordable rents in a relatively short period of time."

He added: "There is a demographic today that is salaried out of social housing and priced out of the open market. Among them are young professionals, graduates, and key workers – a large proportion would-be first-time buyers. This needs to change, and I believe that it can.

"The government's affordable rent initiative has provided billions of pounds worth of funding to registered providers to produce social housing and it is about time that focus is turned to private developers. Effective developers do not need public funding.

"By redeveloping derelict buildings developers can keep costs down, which means the properties they create can be sold at a more affordable rate. If these affordable properties are purchased by buy-to-let investors, it will allow them to charge much lower rents. There is just one thing holding developers back: we need access to derelict buildings and vacant land in order to build and create new homes.

"We need to know which buildings are owned by the government and local authorities, and we need to be granted access to them. And then, vitally, we need to be able to purchase these developments or work in association with local authorities to develop these buildings in partnership."

Charlie also spoke of the need for local authorities to document their holdings. He said: "In January, for the first time, the government published a list of its assets and its vacant property holdings. This seemed like a step in the right direction, but on 8 March the list was updated and the number of vacant properties had increased. So what action had actually been taken to bring these properties back into use?

"There is no such list produced by local authorities, and as such there is no transparency in their land holdings. In the latest communities and local government select committee report on financing new homes, Andy Hull, senior fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, states, "51% of the publicly-held land that is fit for residential development is owned by local authorities, not by central government." Private developers need to have access to these databases.

"Things can be arranged and deals can be negotiated but these conversations need to occur and they need to occur now. By working together, developers and local authorities can put an end to a boarded up Britain."

Charlie Cunningham is chief executive of affordable property developer FreshStart Living.

For more information about FreshStart Living visit their website http://www.freshstartliving.com.

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