Goldsmith Street winning the Stirling Prize shows that councils can lead the way in building more social housing
Goldsmith Street winning the Stirling Prize shows that councils can lead the way in building more social housing

Last night a significant moment in the history of social housing occurred. Goldsmith Street in Norwich became the first social housing project to win the RIBA’s Stirling Prize, the country’s most prestigious architecture award. The judges described Goldsmith Street as ‘a modest masterpiece’, while Guardian architecture and design critic Oliver Wainwright said: ‘This year’s choice sends a clear message that, despite government cuts, it is eminently possible for brave councils to take the initiative and build proper social housing.’… Read more

Conservative Party Conference: Where next for planning?
Conservative Party Conference: Where next for planning?

Since Robert Jenrick was appointed Secretary of State for Housing in July, he’s made no secret of his ambition to ‘liberalise and improve the planning system.’ Jenrick’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday offered a mixed bag of proposals.

In a welcome move, the government has published a new national design guide which sets out the characteristics of well-designed places. But government is also proposing to move ahead with planning deregulation that will make enforcing these new standards … Read more

Conservative Party Conference: Where is the government’s offer for struggling renters?
Conservative Party Conference: Where is the government’s offer for struggling renters?

In its mission to use the Conservative Party Conference to promote homeownership, the government has all but forgotten about struggling renters on low to average incomes. Here, we explain why piecemeal changes to shared ownership fail to tackle the roots of our housing emergency.

In the last two years, the Conservative Party Conference has brought some welcome news for struggling renters. In 2017, Theresa May used her speech to announce the first funding for truly affordable social rent homes since Read more

Small sites must deliver social housing
Small sites must deliver social housing

Here at Shelter, we want to see the introduction of reforms that will help deliver more social housing.

Planning reforms have a role to play in this. Especially reforms that provide the system with strength, greater clarity and, crucially, can empower the system to secure more high-quality social housing.

But, as highlighted in the first blog in our series on the planning system, planning deregulation is not the way forward. This is something the blogs will explain in more detail, … Read more

We must call time on permitted development rights for new housing
We must call time on permitted development rights for new housing

Planning reform is on government’s agenda. The new Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has said he’s interested in ‘ways in which we can further liberalise and improve the planning system’.

In the launch of our housing planning blog series last week, we set out why we want to see planning reforms that will deliver high-quality social housing at scale within well-planned neighbourhoods. However, we also outlined why planning reform in the form of deregulation is not the way forward.

Our planning … Read more

Planning for our future: how important is the planning system for social housing?
Planning for our future: how important is the planning system for social housing?

Few topics in housing prompt such a polarising range of responses as planning. For some, the planning system is an anathema, the single greatest barrier to solving our national housing emergency. For others, proper planning is the key to solving that housing emergency, the way that we guide development to ensure it works for local communities.

Shelter, it’s fair to say, sits closer to the second school of thought.

That’s not to say that we can’t see room for reform … Read more

No Help to Buy
No Help to Buy

With the new government publicly renewing their ambition to see more people owning their own home, we’re reviewing the main policy tool recent governments have used to try and achieve this.

Since 2013, Help to Buy has been the flagship housing policy to make ownership a reality for households dissatisfied with the private rental sector – the only alternative given the current level of social housing supply. Through it, government has funded around £12.5bn in equity loans, resulting in around … Read more

More planning permissions but not enough homes
More planning permissions but not enough homes

It’s all change in politics. A new prime minister, fresh faces around the cabinet table and a clear shift in priority and direction for government policy. Despite this some things remain consistent, including the government’s commitment to deliver 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s, most of which will be new build homes.

But we haven’t managed to build more than 200,000 new homes in England for thirty years. We need to build more, and we need to build … Read more

How a social home changed my life
How a social home changed my life

It’s unbelievable how many families are forced to rent privately because they can’t secure a social home and have no hope of buying. That’s exactly the situation I was in.

I spent over a decade privately renting a cottage for myself and my daughter. Every month was a struggle to cover the rent. I felt a lot of shame about that – like I was getting something wrong or should be coping better.

For the final few years we lived … Read more

George Clarke’s rallying cry for more social housing
George Clarke’s rallying cry for more social housing

This week, Channel 4 showed the latest film from George Clarke, architect, TV presenter and Shelter ambassador. George Clarke’s Council Housing Scandal is a rallying cry for everyone who believes Britain desperately needs more social housing.

At its core, the documentary is an indictment of the terrible state of housing in this country. Clarke visits people living in temporary accommodation and sees the awful conditions they are forced to live in. He’s visibly moved by families forced into cramped flats … Read more

The government's housing paradox
The government's housing paradox

In his first week as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has already promised to invest in housing – but we need quality as well as quantity.

The new administration is likely to continue with Theresa May’s ambition build at least 300,000 new homes a year; and with 222,000 new homes delivered last year, they are making some progress. But worryingly, it is beginning to look like this drive for high numbers in net additions is impacting on the quality of homes … Read more

Successful housing markets are built on social homes
Successful housing markets are built on social homes

It’s obvious that there is no solution to our housing emergency that doesn’t include many more social homes. Homes with secure tenancies and genuinely affordable rents pegged to local incomes, with enough space for children to play and do homework, and for adults to live with dignity. On its own, market housing – that is private housing for rent or sale – simply cannot provide a home for everyone who needs one without compromising standards in unacceptable ways.

100 … Read more