The odds on ending our housing emergency improved this weekend after the Daily Telegraph revealed that Tony Pidgley, founder and chairman of Berkeley Group, has joined the ranks of the country’s growing coalition for land reform. Speaking to journalist Liam Halligan for the new book Home Truths: The UK’s chronic housing shortage, Pidgley describes a housebuilding system ‘in dire need of reform’, and calls for landowners and developers to be forced to share profits of new housing developments … Read more
Last week the government (finally) published the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). For us, the big test for this updated document was whether it closed the viability loophole.
The result – success. As Rose has explained already on this blog the new and improved viability system meets our tests of being:fair; limited; transparent
While there is no doubt that the planning system in England still has some way to go before we can be sure that large … Read more
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
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
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
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
Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.
Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers have … Read more
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
Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower the challenge of finding new homes for survivors has been thrown into the spotlight. A challenge that is exacerbated by the simple fact that in Kensington and Chelsea, as in areas across the country, there exists a huge shortage of affordable homes.
One reason for this is something regular readers of our blog will recognise: viability assessments.
Today we’ve released some new stats showing just how startling the problem in Kensington and Chelsea actually … Read more
It’s now more than two months on from the Grenfell Tower fire, and many of those who survived this terrible event are still living in hotels, traumatised and without the basic comforts of home. Many survivors need time to grieve and recover before they can start to think about a permanent new place to live. But there’s no doubt that Kensington and Chelsea Council’s progress on identifying suitable accommodation, both temporary and permanent, has been far too slow for survivors.… Read more
Last week, through the case of Hornsey Town Hall, we highlighted once again how a lack of transparency for viability assessments is contributing to the loss of affordable homes across England.
In London, however, the Mayor is listening and progress is being made in the form of a new piece of supplementary planning guidance (SPG).
This guidance – Homes for Londoners Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance 2017 – seeks to increase transparency around viability and increase the … Read more
Regular readers of our blog – or followers of our work on housing supply – will have repeatedly heard our calls for increased transparency within housebuilding. One particular area where this is vital is when it comes to the murky world of viability assessments.
These assessments are used to reduce the affordable housing provision and other community contributions that a developer has to make on a scheme.
Recently we saw (and wrote about) a particularly egregious example of this in … Read more