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

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

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

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

Raynsford Review calls for ambitious planning reform
Raynsford Review calls for ambitious planning reform
What is the Raynsford Review?

Earlier this month, the Raynsford Review of Planning was released by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). This review, chaired by former planning minister Nick Raynsford, was given the crucial task of examining the state of the planning system in England, recommending how it can be transformed to deliver the homes, infrastructure and places our communities need.

Shelter fights for the provision of high-quality, genuinely affordable homes across the country, in particular social-rented homes. … Read more

No more social housing get-out clauses
No more social housing get-out clauses

As the Autumn budget announcements were only beginning to be digested a few weeks ago, the government released a consultation that contained substantial and largely troubling proposals for the future supply of social housing.

The consultation proposes a range of ideas to reform planning rules, including a welcome proposal to give councils more freedom over how they use their own land. This would allow councils to hold onto their land and use it to build desperately-needed social homes, where the … Read more

London Mayor announces plans to boost affordable housing in Olympic Park
London Mayor announces plans to boost affordable housing in Olympic Park

Earlier this month, Sadiq Khan announced that 3,000 new homes will be developed across three new neighbourhoods in London’s Olympic Park. London’s Mayor intends for 50% of these new homes to be affordable.

In light of this announcement, we take a closer look at the record of affordable housing planning in Olympic Park, and consider what Khan’s announcement may mean for the thousands of households in need of social housing in boroughs near the Park.

Who was meant to benefit Read more
Permitted development: At what cost for the delivery of well-sized and genuinely affordable housing?

Last week, The Guardian ran a piece on a controversial conversion of offices into flats through permitted development rights (PDR). This article highlighted significant concerns about the tiny and sub-standard homes that are arising from the permitted development system.

Another issue, which we have previously flagged, relates to the non-existent contributions that these conversions are making to delivering genuinely affordable housing in England.

With flats as small as 13 square metres being created out of old office blocks, where we … 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

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

The roots of the rural housing crisis
The roots of the rural housing crisis

Have you heard about the housing crisis hollowing out the countryside? This week, for once, the answer to that question might just be “yes”. The National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week has shone a light on a problem that is poorly understood and rarely discussed with anything like the urgency it deserves.

A vicious chain reaction

In many rural communities, the market for housing has become divorced from local people and their incomes. Homes are sold for as much as … Read more