It's interesting to see someone getting the analysis correct and then the conclusion entirely wrong. So it is with this piece about housing and the planning system:
There were two periods in the 20th century when housing supply did a reasonable job of meeting housing demand and need. The first was between the wars, when cities expanded horizontally into the suburban development of green fields and, assisted by government incentives, builders could offer affordable homeownership to people on middle-to-low incomes. The second was in the decades after the second world war, when publicly funded council housing accounted for roughly half of all homes built.
The first was largely ended by the nationwide introduction of green belts from the 1940s onwards, the second by Margaret Thatcher’s termination of local authorities’ power to build housing.
We're happy enough with that as a pencil sketch of the situation, yes. Where we disagree is here, in the solution:
This sluggishness is despite successive governments’ attempts to liberalise the restrictive planning that they say is to blame for poor supply. Short of a return to a 1930s free-for-all, and possibly not even then, the evidence seems conclusive that the market will not on its own provide.
Why not return to that free for all, that free market, to allow the market to solve the problem?
It is now a reasonable question whether well-planned development in the nation’s green belt should always and in all circumstances be ruled out, but no one in their right minds wants to return to the land-eating, unsustainable sprawl of the 1930s.
Yes, we do want to return to that. We can solve the British housing problem at a stroke. Just blow up, repeal in their entirety, the Town and Country Planning Acts. Job done.
Our problems are caused by the current regulation of who may build what where.
The solution to our problems is thus to change who may build what and where. and given that the only time that market did solve this problem it was by being allowed to build where people actually wanted to live then that should be the system we return to. Other countries have much this system and do not have problems with their housing. So, we should too.