Politicians on all sides are beginning to see the light

Julia Park

A consensus is growing around a new vision for social housing, says Julia Park

It would be good to look back on 2019 not only as the year that Brexit did or didn’t happen, but also the year that the housing crisis turned a corner. It is possible and it has happened before.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ambitious Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919 (known as The Addison Act). Responding to the huge need for “working class housing” when the First World War ended, the government of the day (Conservative as it happens…) promised to subsidise the building of thousands of “Homes Fit for Heroes”. Its commitment to make housing a national responsibility was arguably even more significant. Abandoning the idea that the private sector and philanthropy would deliver on the scale needed, it marked the start of council housing.

The commitment to quality as well as quantity was followed through. The new housing was required to meet the high standards set out in the 1918 Tudor Walters Report. This included our first national housing space standard; remarkably similar to our current NDSS (Nationally Described Space Standards) it turns out.

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