Housing and Planning

Labour New Towns Ambition Welcome, But Warning Lights are Flashing


Government and Institutions

Julian Jessop writes for City AM

In the Media

Christopher Snowdon writes for ConservativeHome

Kristian Niemietz writes for The Spectator

IEA Editorial Director Kristian Niemietz has written for The Spectator discussing the Labour Party’s new pledge to embrace New Towns as part of its plan to solve the housing crisis.

Kristian wrote:

“At first sight, New Towns appear to be a clever way around the Nimby problem. Propose to build a few houses on the edge of a town, and the Nimby lobby will scream bloody murder – but build them far away in nobody’s back yard, and nobody will complain.  

“Yet if you build them as de facto extensions of existing towns, like a borough that just happens to be a bit removed from the rest, you run into the old Nimby problem again. That is one reason why the New Town programme went dormant after 1970.  

“[Shadow Housing Secretary, Angela] Rayner wants to impose a ‘gold standard target’ of 40 per cent ‘affordable’ (i.e. below-market rate) housing on New Town developers, on top of developer contributions to large-scale upfront investment in infrastructure and local amenities. If combined with earlier Labour proposals for stringent environmental standards for new buildings, this would risk making New Towns unviable. New Towns would be risky long-term investment projects at the best of times. If you want them to take off, the last thing you want to do is pile additional costs and risks onto them.”

Read Kristian’s full piece here.

You can also read Kristian’s recent IEA research Home Win: What if Britain Solved its Housing Crisis?, which discusses the potential of New Towns.

In 2023, IEA Communications Officer Harrison Griffiths wrote The problem with ‘everything-bagel’ YIMBYism, which criticises the progressive tendancy to attach a host of policy preferences (eg. environmental and affordable housing mandates) to new housing projects.

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