Re: Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout
Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:45 am
Rule changes " Risk new social housing black hole " in England.
Shelter says plans create " Get-out clause " for developers to avoid providing affordable homes.
A proposal designed to speed up the creation of new homes in England risks “supercharging” a get-out clause allowing developers to build properties without providing social housing, the charity Shelter has said.
The government has proposed new rules that would allow builders to buy and demolish commercial buildings and create new homes without planning permission.
The plan would extend permitted development rights, which allow the conversion of office buildings to homes.
The rules have also allowed developers to build tiny homes, some as small as 13 sq metres.
Almost one in 10 new homes created last year were created this way, but councils do not get the chance to see plans before the homes are built and miss out on planning fees, as well as contributions towards affordable homes.
Shelter said extending the right could create a new “social housing black hole” if they allowed more developers to avoid building affordable homes as part of their project.
The charity said in a handful of local authorities more than half of new homes had been delivered like this, despite the need for social housing in those areas.
In Stevenage, for example, 73% of new homes built last year came through permitted development rights, while in Nottingham 60% of its 975 new homes were created this way.
At the same time, 159 affordable homes were delivered in Stevenage, and its waiting list for social housing stood at 1,862 households. In Nottingham, 5,188 households were waiting for social housing, and 143 affordable homes were built.
Under the proposal in the consultation paper delivered on budget day, the government says the current system “may encourage an owner to change use rather than seek to redevelop the site, which is likely to allow for a higher density development”.
It also raises the question of contributions for affordable homes, asking for input on how this money could be secured for projects that do not need planning permission.
Polly Neate, the CEO of Shelter, said: “Anyone can see it’s wrong to give developers a licence to dodge social housing when hundreds of thousands of people are homeless.
“We need to raise the alarm so the government halt these plans and instead look to bring down the cost of land to build the social homes we need.”
The Town and Country Planning Association recently voiced its concerns about the plan to extend the permitted development rules, warning that it could deprive local authorities of essential funding and risked “creating poor living conditions for vulnerable people”.
“Under the existing system of permitted development, 1,000 new flats can be built in an old 1970s office building or industrial estate, and the local council can’t require a single square foot of play space for the children who live there – and the communities have effectively no say,” said its interim chief executive, Hugh Ellis. “This cannot become the norm.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “No one benefits from delays in planning applications. We expect these proposals to provide flexibility, reduce bureaucracy and make the most effective use of existing buildings.
“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing and we are investing £9bn.”