Housing Futures

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Stephen Platt
tel: 01223 460475

There is a severe lack of affordable housing in South East England and the Government wants to build many more homes. The Housing Futures project, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tested the reaction of the general public to development options that would increase the supply of housing.

The findings are based on interviews and workshops with local and national stakeholders together with a survey of public opinion reporting the views of over 1,400 people in three towns in South East England.

The approach used in the Housing Futures study was to give an overview of the issues involved in providing more homes. People were offered alternatives and the outcomes of these options were described in simple meaningful terms.

The underlying rationale is that if the pros and cons of different development options are explained simply and unambiguously, members of the general public are able to express clear preferences which can inform planning policy. Tackling the issues at a strategic level, as opposed to concrete proposals for a specific site, reveals people’s underlying opinions about how we should develop as a society rather than their personal selfish interests or prejudice.

A total of 1,428 people completed the survey. The pattern of age, employment and tenure almost exactly matches the 2001 Census in each of the three areas surveyed. The interviewers also talked to about one in five people. Some of these conversations were fairly lengthy and give a vivid impression of people’s ideas and attitudes to the provision of new housing in their home area.

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