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

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

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

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

We closed the viability loophole
We closed the viability loophole

New planning rules released yesterday signal the beginning of the end for the viability loophole. Developers will now find it harder to get out of building the affordable homes we desperately need. We explain how.

Over the last year, we’ve been raising a racket about viability assessments. Since 2012, the viability system has allowed big developers to shirk their affordable housing obligations if they can show that building low-cost homes on a scheme will threaten their ability to make … 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

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

The 5 most ridiculous properties of 2014

We all know it: house prices are out of control. It would take the average person 12 years to save up a deposit nowadays. And renting is pretty terrible too: renters now spend 40% their income on housing costs.

Terrifying.

The sad/rubbish/anger-inducing thing is that what you get for your money is often, well, pretty damn awful.

Here are five of the worst properties we’ve come across in our trawlings:

1. The £40k shed – up for sale in rural Read more