Small sites must deliver social housing
Small sites must deliver social housing

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.

But, as highlighted in the first blog in our series on the planning system, planning deregulation is not the way forward. This is something the blogs will explain in more detail, … Read more

We must call time on permitted development rights for new housing
We must call time on permitted development rights for new 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

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

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

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