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

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

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

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