Quality versus quantity: are permitted development rights really the answer to the housing crisis?
Quality versus quantity: are permitted development rights really the answer to the housing crisis?

All too often life is turned into a numbers game – and housing is no exception. The government has committed to building 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s, but what we build and how we do it should not be overlooked.

At the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Annual Conference, Theresa May called for new regulations to improve the design and quality of buildings in order to prevent tiny, poor quality homes from being developed.

This is all well and … Read more

Shelter’s prescription to end the housing emergency
Shelter’s prescription to end the housing emergency

Building social housing is the only effective, long-term cure for the housing crisis. That’s why last week we joined with the National Housing Federation, Crisis, the Chartered Institute for Housing and the Campaign to Protect Rural England to fight for the homes we need: a funded programme of 150,000 social and affordable homes a year. From this Saturday, Shelter will be taking to the streets to ask you to add your support to our campaign, starting with our first … Read more

Land Reform: The key to better quality homes
Land Reform: The key to better quality homes
Guest blog by Julia Park, Levitt Bernstein

Almost everywhere in the country, the cost of the land needed to build a house is more than the cost of actually building it. And it shows.

Our speculative approach to development means that a bidding war is now the normal way to acquire land. The race to the top when it comes to buying a site perversely creates a race to the bottom when it comes to the end product.

Very little … Read more

Theft or freedom? Land reform for the right as well as the left
Theft or freedom? Land reform for the right as well as the left

The start of this month saw the publication of Land for the Many, a landmark report commissioned by the Labour Party and edited by George Monbiot. It gives a thorough account of the role of land in creating many of the problems Corbyn’s Labour has firmly in its sights – poverty, inequality, the climate crisis and unaffordable housing – and puts forward a huge range of solutions. Among them is a recommendation to reform the Land Compensation Act … Read more

Land reform: the key to ambitious social housing
Land reform: the key to ambitious social housing

The next Prime Minister must put social housing at the heart of their solution to our housing emergency. The scale of the crisis demands serious ambition to build enough social homes for all who need them. But it’s not just a numbers game. As Shelter’s new Grounds for Change essay collection argues, alongside investment the government must learn from history and take action to reform our broken land laws. Only then will we build the high-quality, well-designed, genuinely affordable homes … Read more

We need to reform the 1961 Act to create places people love
We need to reform the 1961 Act to create places people love
Guest Blog – Will Tanner, Director of Onward

If you were to construct a system to maximise resentment towards new housebuilding, the British land system would probably come close.

For decades, new homes have been encouraged in places that communities are most likely to oppose development, in designs that jar with local styles, without proper consultation with communities, and with insufficient investment in the infrastructure that local people understandably expect alongside housing.

The root causes of undersupply are often thought … Read more

Two years on from the fire: coming together to stand in solidarity with Grenfell’s community
Two years on from the fire: coming together to stand in solidarity with Grenfell’s community

On Friday 14 June, Britain will pause at 11am to hold a minute’s silence in remembrance of the 72 lives lost during the Grenfell Tower fire on this day two years ago.

During this moment of reflection, I hope you’ll be joining me and hundreds of thousands of people from across the country as we take time to pause and remember the community affected by the fire. 

But this also serves to remind ourselves that there’s still important work to be done. 

Like many other organisations, we’ve been … Read more

Increasing housing supply can improve living standards for the squeezed middle
Increasing housing supply can improve living standards for the squeezed middle
Guest Blog – Thomas Aubrey, Centre for Progressive Policy

Housing costs over the last 20 years have been a real drain on household incomes. Indeed, this rise in prices for renters and owner occupiers has been responsible for more than a third of the rise in overall living costs. House prices have increased in the last two decades at a much faster rate than earnings, resulting in the median house price to earnings ratio roughly doubling. But these costs have … Read more

A recipe for social housebuilding
A recipe for social housebuilding

With more than 270,000 people currently experiencing homelessness in England, we’re undoubtedly seeing the impact of 40 years of failure in housing policy. At the same time, house prices are far out of reach, leaving many young families trapped in expensive and insecure private rentals.

This is why, throughout 2018, Shelter led a Big Conversation to investigate what’s going wrong. We sought the views of the public, experts and social and private renters. Their input was analysed by an independent … Read more

Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk
Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk

In the last few weeks, the controversial permitted development system has been receiving renewed media attention. This is partly because Labour, in a welcome move, have now pledged to scrap permitted development rights for the delivery of new homes.

This pledge comes off the back of reports last year, which highlighted the small, poor quality homes coming through the permitted development system, and a get-out clause that exempts schemes from providing vital social and affordable housing.

But, recent coverage of … Read more

Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy
Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy

Homelessness is all around us. But while we can see people sleeping in shop doorways or under awnings, that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

There are currently 61,480 homeless families in England who are not on the streets but are instead living in temporary accommodation, without the safety and stability of a home.

This kind of homelessness often feels like an abstract concept. We know these people exist from the official figures, but their lives are hard … Read more

Spring Statement: the housing announcements you weren’t supposed to see
Spring Statement: the housing announcements you weren’t supposed to see

Last week’s Spring Statement didn’t deliver much for housing.

The Chancellor’s announcement that £3 billion worth of government guarantees for loans to build 30,000 ‘affordable’ homes received plenty of positive coverage. But truly affordable social homes can’t be built on borrowing alone.

Government guarantees won’t go very far towards a solution for our housing crisis unless cheaper borrowing is accompanied by serious investment in capital grants for social housing at the next spending review (which we called for at the launch Read more