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

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

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

Council housing is the bedrock of the future, not a relic of the past
Council housing is the bedrock of the future, not a relic of the past
Guest blog by John Boughton

Lloyd George never promised ‘Homes for Heroes’, and the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act didn’t create the first ‘council’ housing. But, those two common misconceptions aside, it’s been a pleasure to see Christopher Addison’s flagship reform so widely celebrated on its centenary. And with good reason: 100 years on, there’s an urgent need to see a commitment to large-scale social housebuilding that matches the ambitions of 1919, to provide homes people desperately need. 

My … Read more

Social Housing: Theresa May’s Legacy?
Social Housing: Theresa May’s Legacy?

Years from now, when the history of Theresa May’s record on housing is written, it will remain impossible to ignore the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Few events change the course of debate the way this did. In the two years since the fire, the public discourse on social housing has made a profound and welcome turn. But meaningful changes in policy have been much slower to come.

Today, people living in social housing are still being failed by poor regulation … Read more

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