Councils warn planning reforms will mean fewer affordable homes

Nearly 30,000 affordable homes would not have been built in the last five years if proposed government planning reforms were already in place, council leaders have warned.

A new analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) claims that if government plans to remove the requirement for developers to build affordable housing on small sites had been introduced five years ago, it would have led to 29,876 affordable homes not being built for either rent or purchase.

Ministers are currently consulting on wide-ranging reforms to the planning system, which they claim will speed the home-building process up.

But some of these proposals have met with fierce criticism from local authorities and Conservative backbench MPs.

The government is considering removing the requirement for developers to build affordable housing on sites where the number of homes is under either 40 or 50.

The LGA has warned that such a threshold could encourage developers to ‘game the system’ by putting forward proposals of 39 or 49 or fewer homes respectively, on sites which are able to take more, to avoid affordable housing requirements.

It argues if the affordable housing threshold had been 40 units, Lewes District Council would have seen a 32% reduction in affordable homes delivered.

A higher threshold of 50 units would have resulted in a 37% reduction.

‘These current proposals risk allowing developers to game the system by only putting forward schemes for fewer than 40 or 50 homes, and so avoid building any affordable homes at all,’ said the LGA’s housing spokesperson, Cllr David Renard.

‘We want to work with government on reforming the planning system, which ensures that it is improved and strengthened, delivering beautiful homes and places for communities. But this also needs to see the requirement for affordable housing retained as a key element, by giving councils the power to determine what is right for their local area.’

Photo Credit – Paulbr75 (Pixabay)

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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