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.

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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

Swipe right for more affordable homes: why Shelter put a brick on Tinder

When Boris Johnson came on stage at the 2014 Conservative party conference brandishing a brick, claiming “you shall not be alone”, it got us thinking.

Bricks aren’t solitary creatures. They should be cemented together into new homes, to solve the housing shortage. But without politicians building enough of those, they’re stuck sitting by themselves.

So we thought, what better way to find a mate for a single brick – and highlight the issue to some of the young people directly … Read more

One North …. Plus?

On Tuesday something strange happened. Everyone in politics agreed on something.

One North – a collection of five cities working together – put forward an ambitious proposal on how to improve transport connectivity, dubbed the “Crossrail of the North”.

George Osborne pledged support, stating he’d make the plans the centrepiece of his Autumn Statement. And Ed Balls welcomed the proposals too.

However, before everyone runs away with themselves I want to offer an amendment, an addition to the plans. Let’s … Read more