Guest column: The silent majority support more housing

Matthew Applegate
Matthew Applegate

That Britain needs new homes is something that all mainstream political parties seem to agree on nowadays and it’s great that this applies to affordable housing as well.

The tide has certainly changed over the past two years, even locally.

I always thought it perverse that a well organised minority who shouted very loudly to oppose development in general and affordable housing in particular, could create the impression of a whole community being opposed.

Research just published by the Fabian Society in its report the ‘Silent Majority’ highlights that people are aware of problems with the housing market, but importantly, the majority of people support the need for more affordable housing.

The ‘silent majority’ are those who have no voice and no representation and as a result are almost always missing from the debate.

They are usually less organised, less affluent and have less time to promote their case. We have all heard of the overcrowded family wanting to upsize; the young person wanting their independence; the keyworker wanting to live more locally to their work but unable to afford the house prices or market rent – these are the people in housing need.

It’s great that there are new developments locally that will help tackle the housing shortage.

We’ll be offering more than 100 additional homes during the next few months, but it is simply not enough.

Only the wealthiest of the next generation will be able to buy a home if current trends continue.

It’s our children and their families that will suffer in the long term if we don’t build more homes.

Opposition to development from a vocal minority is inevitable, but I’d urge everyone to have a look in detail at what a scheme is offering before rushing to sign petitions and attend public meetings.

New development will result in more affordable housing for local people, but the huge amounts set aside for much needed infrastructure investment in our schools, health service, transport networks – and dare I say, open spaces – will also drive economic growth and greatly benefit our local economy.