NIMBYs, YIMBYs, £7.7 billion profit and still hardly any social housing

NIMBYs, YIMBYs, £7.7 billion profit and still hardly any social housing

Over the last month, we’ve been asking supporters what they make of the developments in their area.

We did this because the government is ripping up the rules around how private developers are made to build social housing. We want to make these rules as strong as possible, so the homes this country needs are built – not just the ones that make developers the biggest profits. We believe there’s much more developers should be doing: The eight biggest housebuilders in this country made over £7.7 billion in profit in 2021 and 2022. Over the same period, all developers only built 5,718 social homes. There’s a housing emergency; we can’t keep prioritising profit over people.

So we asked people what they thought.

We thought we’d get lots of people saying we need to build as many houses as possible – the ‘YIMBYs or ‘Yes, in my backyard’. We thought we’d also get lots of ‘NIMBYs or ‘Not in my back yard’. But what we actually got was people who understood how expensive housing has become, especially for the younger generation. They saw developments happening around them, but what they didn’t see was the thing they felt was most important – developments that suit the needs of the community. Genuinely affordable homes for younger people, older people, and disabled people. Decent homes that benefit people’s wellbeing by being secure and stable. Housing built to be homes, not assets.

Here’s how they put it:

In Devon there seems to be a huge effort on behalf of house builders to build profitable four and five-bedroom houses and do little more than pay lip service to affordable houses. Affordable housing is desperately needed in Devon, where house prices are driven up by second homeowners and pay is low.”

Robert, Devon

In my small market town of Framlingham in Suffolk, Persimmon and other large house builders have built over 500 new homes in the past 4 years. Not one is social housing. They all use the ‘viability’ loophole.  The road infrastructure has not been improved and there are daily queues into and through town to get to the local high school. It’s so ridiculously skewed toward profit and not for public benefit. Our community really needs affordable homes!

Barbara, Suffolk

Michael Gove has admitted that all the wrong types of homes have been built in the wrong places and the country is short by 1.5 million social homes resulting in more homeless now than since WW2. Our village is building 33 houses, 6 of which were supposed to be social homes but rumours are circulating that these have now been scrapped since planning consent was given. Planning consent was given on the grounds that social homes were included on the site. How do they get away with this? Housing people in hotels and with private landlords pushes up the housing benefits bill. How does this make any sense?

Vivien, Ipswich

My area has a five-year waiting list for social or council housing. Moreover, the list has only just re-opened after being closed for over a year. Yet, private developers have recently constructed a new estate of over 200 homes, with only a small percentage going to social housing. Why is this allowed? It should not be so difficult to find rental properties housing in the area you want to live in, nor does it make sense to have waiting lists of years from the council.

Ava, Birmingham

Woking has suffered with developers repeatedly claiming they can’t even provide the required affordable elements let alone desperately needed social housing

Andy, Woking

All around my hometown, expensive housing developments are sprouting like toadstools.  Nothing affordable for people on ordinary incomes. Social housing is almost nonexistent. Nothing affordable to rent either, young people having to stay with their parents or leave the district.

Stephanie, Harrogate

It’s clear to us that new developments must contain many more social homes – and that any change the government makes to the way developers build social homes must build far more than they currently do. If you’d like to support our campaign, you can sign our petition to build more social housing

Photo by: Jake Darling Photography