No, prefabs aren't the answer

Another attempt at a solution to Britain's housing crisis. One that once again manages to entirely miss the cause of the crisis. And as such one that won't solve it. This time around it's prefabs:

Britain is to get a new wave of prefabs as ministers plan to offer help to build 100,000 ready-made homes to try to solve the housing crisis, the Telegraph has learnt.

In a major strategy shift, the Government has decided to meet its ambitious housing targets by embracing the first new generation of pre-packed homes since the great reconstruction drive that followed the Second World War. 

Many of the modern prefabs, now known as “modular homes”, will be aimed at younger Britons to help them on to the housing ladder. 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with prefabs and why shouldn't we embrace modern housebuilding methods?

But this isn't the solution to the problem we face. British housing costs, as it has done for generations, around and about what it costs to build a house. Lowering that cost through more efficient housebuilding is to be welcomed, of course. But that's not the problem we face.

The problem we do face is that the cost of a piece of land, with the associated chitty to allow a house to be put on that land, is extortionate. And the reason for that is that we've an immensely restrictive planning system that horribly limits which piece of land you can put a house on.

Land itself is cheap, houses cost pretty much what houses always have done and the price of the chitty has gone through the roof (sorry). The solution is therefore to reduce the price of the permission by issuing more permissions.

Or, as we tend to say around here, the solution to the housing problem is to blow up the Town and Country Planning Act and successors.

Cheaper building costs through prefabs? Sure, why not? But how much are those 100,000 plots to put them on going to cost? And isn't that the actual problem we face anyway?