Planning reforms risk delivery of affordable homes, council leaders warn

By William Eichler | 07 October 2020

Communities could have missed out on 30,000 affordable homes in the past five years if proposed government planning reforms were in place, local leaders have warned.

The Government is considering removing the requirement for developers to build affordable housing on small sites. 

Analysis by Glenigan, commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), showed that between 2015/16 and 2019/20 there were 119,505 private homes built on sites of between 10 and 49 units.

Based on an average of developers being required to make 25% of new housing affordable, this would have included 29,876 affordable homes being built for either rent or purchase – homes that would not have been included if the Government’s reforms were in force.

LGA housing spokesman, Cllr David Renard. said: ‘Proposals to exempt developers from having to build affordable housing on certain small sites are of huge concern.

‘With rising housing waiting lists and record numbers in temporary accommodation, we desperately need to be building more affordable housing - not less.

'We need to build homes that are affordable to local people and help to reduce homelessness rather than contributing additional funds to developers’ and landowners’ profits.’

However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said the LGA's claims were 'fundamentally flawed'.

An MHCLG spokesman said: 'The new infrastructure levy proposed in our Planning for the Future reforms will deliver at least as much affordable housing as today – and to suggest otherwise is simply misleading.'

Latest figures showed that more than a million households are on council waiting lists and almost 93,000 households are living in temporary accommodation because of a lack of suitable low-cost housing.

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