It’s housing day in the general election campaign, but it’s not a normal election housing day. In all recent elections the housing policies of the major parties have been welcome but small reforms at best and actually destructive at worst. Now, with major commitments from the big parties, this election marks a sharp turn from the incremental to the transformational. Make no mistake, the plans laid out to build hundreds of thousands of new social homes are big, as are … Read more
Last night, we watched with bated breath as Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson went head-to-head in the first party leaders’ debate of the 2019 general election campaign.
We know we’re living through extraordinary times in terms of housing – although these extraordinary times have now gone on so long as to become depressingly usual in many ways. The emergency we’re facing affects us all. Whether that be directly or indirectly, the national failure that has resulted in a 22% increase … Read more
The odds on ending our housing emergency improved this weekend after the Daily Telegraph revealed that Tony Pidgley, founder and chairman of Berkeley Group, has joined the ranks of the country’s growing coalition for land reform. Speaking to journalist Liam Halligan for the new book Home Truths: The UK’s chronic housing shortage, Pidgley describes a housebuilding system ‘in dire need of reform’, and calls for landowners and developers to be forced to share profits of new housing developments … Read more
In the last year in England alone, a household became homeless every four minutes. In that same year, 692 rough sleepers died, again in England alone. That’s an increase of 22% on the previous year. Hundreds of people are dying on our streets, thousands are homeless and millions are at risk of losing their homes: this is the UK’s housing emergency. It must not slip off the agenda during this general election.
Earlier this month, the Queen’s Speech introduced her … Read more
With the budget on 6 November cancelled, the government have further delayed taking action to lift the benefit freeze and provide stability and certainty for many in need. The benefit freeze has left Local Housing Allowance (LHA), or housing benefit for those renting privately, completely unfit for purpose, and this is pushing many people into debt, poverty, and homelessness. People are struggling to pay their rent because the LHA rate does not cover modest rents in the vast majority … Read more
Following the announcement that Goldsmith Street, a social housing project in Norwich, is this year’s well-deserved winner of both the Stirling Prize and the inaugural RIBA Neave Brown Prize for Housing, there’s been a flurry of articles in the press.
Many of these pieces congratulate the skills and tenacity of the architects – Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley – and the bravery and vision of their client, Norwich City Council. Some predict a … Read more
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
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
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
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.
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
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