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 … Read more

Office to residential conversions under permitted development rights
Office to residential conversions under permitted development rights

Guest blog by Julia Park, Levitt Bernstein

If there are people who are ideologically opposed to the conversion of redundant office buildings to residential use, I’ve yet to meet them. The idea of adapting buildings that are no longer needed (or no longer fit) for their original purpose to a suitable alternative use is nothing new – and makes perfect sense. And it’s even better if that alternative use is housing, given the numbers we need.

That was undoubtedly part … Read more

Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights
Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights

New analysis sheds light on the impact of a social housing get out clause in England. Our research estimates that urban authorities have missed out on over 10,000 affordable homes between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

In 2018, Theresa May promised a ‘new generation of council homes to help fix our broken housing market’. We welcome this, and the announcement of an additional £2 billion for housing associations to help deliver on it. With just under 6,500 socially rented houses delivered in … Read more

The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?
The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?

Last year, Theresa May used her speech at Conservative Party Conference to announce £2bn of new grant funding – the first money made available for building social homes since 2010.

Two weeks ago, the prime minister used a speech at the National Housing Federation’s annual summit to announce another £2bn of long-term funding for housing associations. At the time, we asked ‘Is Theresa May getting serious about social housing?’, taking stock of the many small actions May’s governments … Read more

Is the tide turning for social housing?
Is the tide turning for social housing?

Theresa May has often said fixing the housing crisis is her top domestic priority – no small feat for a government also tasked with delivering Brexit on a razor-thin majority. Some governments might have been tempted to leave housing in the ‘too difficult’ box, where it has been gathering dust for years.

But while we have yet to see the fundamental reforms and significant uptick in investment needed to get the country building genuinely affordable homes at scale again, May’s … Read more

An unlikely coalition for land reform
An unlikely coalition for land reform

What do Shelter, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Landlords Association, the New Economics Foundation and centre-right think tank Onward all agree on? Not much, admittedly. The world is round. Homelessness is bad. And we must fix the UK’s broken land laws to get a grip on the housing crisis.

Yesterday, this unlikely coalition published an open letter to James Brokenshire, the housing secretary. In it, we state a simple truth: ‘The root of England’s housing crisis lies … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more

Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo
Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo

A new report from the Raynsford Review explains why the planning system has worsened over the past hundred years and that, to fix it, we need to start talking about homes and not units again.

Planning is not boring, honestly. It’s critically important. It’s not about S106 and CIL, but rather affordable housing, and how communities function. And it’s at a crossroads right now, as the government is currently reviewing national planning laws.

It’s therefore timely that a new report Read more

Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes
Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes

Here at Shelter, we’re all for getting more affordable homes built. It’s the only long-term, permanent fix to our housing and homelessness crisis. But in recent years, it hasn’t always felt like the planning system is on our side. Rules like the viability loophole have made it harder to get the affordable homes communities really need coming through the planning system. But there is one great, unsung hero of the planning system that has been steadily chipping away at the … Read more

Spring is in the air
Spring is in the air

We were promised that the chancellor’s Spring Statement today would be boring – and he didn’t disappoint.

As all the big news will be in the Autumn Budget, observers only have some relatively minor details to comment on – but there’s always something of interest in the details, and some of the details this time suggest the end of the long winter of the housing shortage may finally be in sight.

Firstly, it’s great that tackling the housing crisis is … Read more

New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?
New viability rules: fair, limited, transparent?

On Monday, Theresa May’s government announced a shake-up of planning rules, including a new version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The aim is to get more homes built, as pretty much everyone now accepts that this is the best way to tackle the housing crisis.

Over the coming weeks, we will go through all these proposed planning changes with a fine-toothed comb to work out just what they mean for the supply of genuinely affordable homes. But for … Read more

Villages are unviable without affordable homes
Villages are unviable without affordable homes

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is known for sticking up for the countryside and rural communities, while Shelter is known for campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness. These are not two charities you might automatically pair together. However, both organisations have a long history of campaigning to ensure that the needs of communities are met, first and foremost, when housing developments are planned and delivered – countrywide, in Shelter’s case, and in rural areas, in CPRE’s. And … Read more