The Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) has released it’s official response to the draft housing supply strategy by the Department for Communities.
The response strongly supports the development of a clear strategy but identifies three main concerns in regards to the vision shown in this draft. These were:
- The target of ‘upwards of 100,000 homes’ over 15 years is unnecessarily vague – Whilst the target number may need to be adjusted over the course of the strategy period as a result of updated Housing Growth Indicators, the response suggests it is better to set out with a clear and ambitious target pointing out that In the last fifteen years 126,172 housing units have been completed and, during this period, demand has clearly outstripped supply.
- The vision has insufficient focus on addressing and responding to climate change. Whilst this issue is covered in the Objectives, RSUA is calling for clearer inclusion and/or the higher prioritisation of the following elements in the Vision:
- By the end of the strategy period that all new housing will be net zero carbon
- Carbon emissions from existing homes will be greatly reduced
- Embodied carbon in new homes will be greatly reduced
- Homes will be designed, built and adapted to be suitable for the changed and changing climate
- The vision could be strengthened by clearly stating broadly where the vast majority of new homes should be delivered over the next 15 years – the response calls for new homes to primarily be delivered within the existing development footprint for sustainability reasons. It recommends that the strategy should have a clear focus on development within hamlets, villages, towns and cities, as against developments on peripheral green field sites and one-off homes in the countryside, both of which lock in car dependence.
DfC has stated the final Housing Supply Strategy will be published in March 2022.