Sustainable Communities, Housing and Planning

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:21 pm on 18th July 2002.

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Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 1:21 pm, 18th July 2002

My hon. Friend makes a valuable point about getting all the stakeholders involved. It is not just a simple matter of encouraging local authorities to do more; we must include the private sector, including the builders. We must also consider the argument about whether the land is being held back, or whether it is being used for a better purpose that is to the advantage of the community.

On high density, I take the point that the previous Administration reduced the average to 20 houses per hectare. However, I said before that the housing situation has been declining for decades under all Administrations and we need to make that step change. I tried to address the issue of high density when I came to the House two years ago to announce some of these matters. The average for the south-east appears to be 24 per hectare, but in Islington, or elsewhere in London, there are areas of Georgian property where the density is 80 per hectare, yet prices are going through the roof. The millennium project community in Greenwich has a density of 90 per hectare. That is an example of what good design and an imaginative approach can do in bringing some of these issues together and that is what I must try to do.