Viability - winning here
Viability - winning here

Last week the government (finally) published the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). For us, the big test for this updated document was whether it closed the viability loophole.

The result – success. As Rose has explained already on this blog the new and improved viability system meets our tests of being:

fair; limited; transparent

While there is no doubt that the planning system in England still has some way to go before we can be sure that large … Read more

Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo
Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo

A new report from the Raynsford Review explains why the planning system has worsened over the past hundred years and that, to fix it, we need to start talking about homes and not units again.

Planning is not boring, honestly. It’s critically important. It’s not about S106 and CIL, but rather affordable housing, and how communities function. And it’s at a crossroads right now, as the government is currently reviewing national planning laws.

It’s therefore timely that a new report Read more

Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes
Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes

Here at Shelter, we’re all for getting more affordable homes built. It’s the only long-term, permanent fix to our housing and homelessness crisis. But in recent years, it hasn’t always felt like the planning system is on our side. Rules like the viability loophole have made it harder to get the affordable homes communities really need coming through the planning system. But there is one great, unsung hero of the planning system that has been steadily chipping away at the … Read more

Spring is in the air
Spring is in the air

We were promised that the chancellor’s Spring Statement today would be boring – and he didn’t disappoint.

As all the big news will be in the Autumn Budget, observers only have some relatively minor details to comment on – but there’s always something of interest in the details, and some of the details this time suggest the end of the long winter of the housing shortage may finally be in sight.

Firstly, it’s great that tackling the housing crisis is … Read more

New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?
New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?

On Monday, Theresa May’s government announced a shake-up of planning rules, including a new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The aim is to get more homes built, as pretty much everyone now accepts that this is the best way to tackle the housing crisis.

Over the coming weeks, we will go through all these proposed planning changes with a fine-toothed comb to work out just what they mean for the supply of genuinely affordable homes. But for … Read more

Villages are unviable without affordable homes
Villages are unviable without affordable homes

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is known for sticking up for the countryside and rural communities, while Shelter is known for campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness. These are not two charities you might automatically pair together. However, both organisations have a long history of campaigning to ensure that the needs of communities are met, first and foremost, when housing developments are planned and delivered – countrywide, in Shelter’s case, and in rural areas, in CPRE’s. And … Read more

Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution
Ingredients for a public housebuilding revolution

A year ago today we launched New Civic Housebuilding, setting out our vision for reviving England’s tradition of building attractive, affordable homes. With the newly rebranded Ministry of Housing and its agency, Homes England, talking up their role in transforming house building, and the new National Planning Policy Framework due next week, this feels like a good moment to assess progress.

The need for public housebuilding

The government commitment to building a lot more homes is an essential first … Read more

Local viability policy part 1: ‘We are pushing the system as hard as we can, but it’s a rigged system.’

Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.

http://blog.shelter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/OBR-2048_NCH_Viability_animation-FINAL.mp4

 

Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers … Read more

The high cost of viability assessments: 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year

Over the last year, we’ve blogged many times about viability assessments, their role in cutting affordable homes, and the lack of transparency around how developers use them.

New research from Shelter shines a light on just how much damage this legal loophole is doing. Eleven councils covering nine English cities lost 2,500 affordable homes in just one year on schemes where developers used viability assessments. That’s equivalent to a 79% cut in desperately needed affordable homes to … Read more

Facing up to defeat: why was social housing an easy target?

Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.

I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more

A tax on both your (privately rented) houses

Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.

However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.

1. Raise the Roof

The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.

This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more

A rent cap in name only

This blog was originally published as part of #BeyondtheBallot the Huffington Post UK’s alternative take on the UK General Election 2015. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

A year ago to the day, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour Government will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. After calling for stable renting since 2012, Shelter welcomed this turning point.

On Sunday, this was repackaged a ‘cap on rents’.

Cue hysteria. … Read more