William Eichler 07 October 2020

Planning reforms risk delivery of affordable homes, council chiefs warn

Planning reforms risk delivery of affordable homes, council chiefs warn image

Communities could have missed out on nearly 30,000 affordable homes in the past five years if proposed Government planning reforms were in place, local authority leaders warn.

The Government is considering removing the requirement for developers to build affordable housing on small sites. It is currently consulting on whether to apply this to sites where the number of homes is under either 40 or 50.

However, analysis by Glenigan, commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), shows that between 2015/16 and 2019/20, there were 119,505 private homes built on sites of 10 to 49 units.

Based on an average of developers being required to make 25% of new housing affordable, this would have included 29,876 affordable homes being built for either rent or purchase – homes that would not have been included if the Government’s reforms were in force.

The LGA is concerned this plan could see the overall amount of affordable housing significantly reduced across the country. It also warns that such a threshold could encourage developers to ‘game the system’ by putting forward proposals of 39 or 49 or fewer homes respectively on sites which are able to take more to avoid affordable housing requirements.

‘Proposals to exempt developers from having to build affordable housing on certain small sites are of huge concern,’ said LGA housing spokesperson Cllr David Renard.

‘With rising housing waiting lists and record numbers in temporary accommodation, we desperately need to be building more affordable housing, not less. We need to build homes that are affordable to local people and help to reduce homelessness, rather than contributing additional funds to developers’ and landowners’ profits.’

The latest figures show that more than a million households are on council waiting lists and almost 93,000 households are living in temporary accommodation, because of a lack of suitable low-cost housing.

‘These current proposals risk allowing developers to game the system by only putting forward schemes for fewer than 40 or 50 homes, and so avoid building any affordable homes at all,’ Cllr Renard continued.

‘We want to work with Government on reforming the planning system, which ensures that it is improved and strengthened, delivering beautiful homes and places for communities. But this also needs to see the requirement for affordable housing retained as a key element, by giving councils the power to determine what is right for their local area.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Highways & Transport

City of York Council
£58,568 - £66,923 per annum
This is hugely exciting time to join the Council in this new role as the strategic lead for our Highways and Transport service. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Youth & Community Based Commissioner

Essex County Council
£19308 - £19631 per annum
Youth & Community Based Commissioner Permanent, Part Time £19,308 to £19,631 per annum (FTE) Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Worker - Family Support & Protection Team

Essex County Council
Up to £207 per day + Umbrella
Family Operations delivers direct provision of services relating to vulnerable children, young people and complex families. These services will be del England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

District Youth and Community Commissioner in Training

Essex County Council
£25313 - £28001 per annum
District Youth and Community Commissioner in Training Permanent, Full Time £25,313 - £28,001 Per Annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Worker - Early Intervention Team

Essex County Council
Up to £207 per day + Umbrella
*** This is a temporary position to start as soon as possible based at Colchester Hospital ***About the RoleWorking to support adults, and their famil England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue