Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built

Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built

Why are we missing out on so many affordable homes in the UK?

Only 41,530 were built in 2016 and 2017, despite the national housing crisis. One big reason for this is that developers and landowners are making promises on affordable homes that they know they can break – and this needs to stop.

Using the viability loophole, they can wriggle out of their commitments to build affordable homes, often before building work starts. They do this by saying that costs have gone up and they won’t make enough profit, and that the development will become ‘unviable’ unless they cut affordable homes. The ‘viability loophole’ (more information on that here) allows developers to cut the number of affordable homes planned for a development if it looks like they won’t make enough profit.

When we looked at just eight councils we found that developers had used viability assessments to cut the amount of affordable housing delivered by almost half.

Help change this

Right now, the government is holding a public consultation on its planning rules, and we need as many people as possible to say that this needs to change.

So it’s vital that we tell the government that local councils need the power to set and enforce affordable housing policies.

Make your voice heard

Online consultations like this are long and can seem technical, but don’t worry – you don’t need to answer every question (you can just put ‘not applicable’). But you do need to let the government know that you care about this issue, and that you want our planning rules to ensure we can build new affordable homes to help tackle the housing crisis.

Make sure your voice is counted by following these simple steps:

  1. go to the consultation site and put in your details. Select the ‘personal response’ option, then click next
  2. on Please select the chapter you would like to comment on’, select ‘4. Decision-making (Question 7-10)’ and click next
  3. scroll down to Question 10
  4. write your answer in the free text box

We’ve drafted some bullet points below for you to include, but you’ll make an even greater impact if you write in your own words why this is such an important issue for you:

  • viability assessments are being used as a strategy by developers to cut the number of affordable homes being built. This needs to stop.
  • that you will be more likely to oppose new developments in your area if the proposal stays as it is, and you won’t be able to trust that vital new affordable housing will be built
  • why you are concerned about the lack of affordable housing being built. If you have an example from your area or how this has affected you can also add that in
  • councils need the power to set affordable housing policy and enforce them. They must be able to get the amount of affordable housing built that they need, and developers must stick to building the agreed amount of affordable housing
  • lastly, this needs to be made clear to developers so that they don’t overpay for land in the first place

The consultation closes on 10 May, so please send your response in before them.

Please let us know if you have any questions, or have submitted your consultation response by emailing us on campaign@shelter.org.uk, so we know how many of us have taken action.