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

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

Local viability policy part 2: What should councils be doing about the viability loophole?

Part one of this blog looked at the councils getting tough on viability assessments. Faced with acute shortages of affordable housing, councils like Bristol City are pulling out all the stops to strengthen their position in Section 106 negotiations with developers. But the development of local policy to limit the damage being done by viability assessments is still in its early stages. Urban councils in areas of high housing demand in the south of England have been much more likely … 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 have … 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

Why are Grenfell survivors still living in hotels? The curious case of 100 West Cromwell Road

It’s now more than two months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, and many of those who survived this terrible event are still living in hotels, traumatised and without the basic comforts of home. Many survivors need time to grieve and recover before they can start to think about a permanent new place to live. But there’s no doubt that Kensington and Chelsea Council’s progress on identifying suitable accommodation, both temporary and permanent, has been far too slow for survivors.… Read more

Don’t be fooled by the campaign to axe stamp duty

Ahead of the Autumn Budget, the Daily Telegraph is leading a fresh charge against stamp duty land tax – a levy on property purchases which taxes the average buyer lightly, but hits buyers of £1 million+ mansions, second homes, and buy-to-let properties harder. Now MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has put cutting stamp duty ‘as a matter of urgency’ at the centre of his prescription for the Conservative Party.

A spate of articles have dubbed stamp duty ‘a tax on mobility Read more

Developers cannot be allowed to keep breaking their promises on affordable housing

In the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, the priority is to find secure, affordable homes for survivors in their community, and make sure they have all the support they need to move forward with their lives. It is encouraging to see homes starting to come forward, with 68 affordable homes in Kensington allocated for survivors so far.

But these are not additional homes. They are pre-existing affordable blocks fast-tracked and reserved for Grenfell families. And so there is a broader … Read more

How central London’s luxury property price falls could make housing even less affordable

All the signs point to a slow-down in the London property market. Central London house prices dropped by 6.8% between 2015 and 2016, while the numbers of new homes under construction plummeted by 75%.[1] The problem is located almost entirely at the top of the market, with sales transactions collapsing by 86% for properties worth more than £10 million.[2]

Central London property values are eye-watering, far beyond the reach of most working London households. A fall in house … Read more