Affordable housing targets missed
New CPRE research shows a growing crisis of affordable housing in many rural areas.
Using Government data, the research indicates that the proportion of affordable homes being provided by non-metropolitan local authorities has halved in five years. In 2011-12, 35% of new dwellings were affordable; in 2015-16, this had decreased to just 16%.
CPRE’s research also shows that just five of the 15 most unaffordable districts outside London have met their affordable housing target.
As councils no longer receive direct funding for affordable housing, and, until recently, very few councils have been building homes, the main way affordable homes are currently provided is through conditions on developers being granted planning permission.
Recent research from the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) shows that councils are increasingly concerned about affordable housing and the effect that viability assessments have on providing it. In the TCPA’s study, over 60% of councils surveyed agreed that the viability test set out in the National Planning Policy Framework has hindered their ability to secure sufficient social and affordable housing to meet local needs.
Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “Many councils are falling woefully short of their targets to provide affordable homes. Yet you also have to look at those developers who continually use shady tactics to renege on promises to build affordable homes and new community infrastructure. These are often the promises that win them permission in the first place.
Developers have councils in a bind. It’s either fewer affordable homes or missed housing targets. And either way it’s young people and local people in need who lose out.
As just 8% of rural housing is affordable, much of the countryside is already out of reach to those on average incomes. If we don’t change things this will just get worse. The next Government must reduce the power of these viability studies, stop highly profitable developers gaming the system and give councils the hard cash to start building houses again.”
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