3 November 2017
by Rico Wojtulewicz
Shelter has published a new report entitled 'Slipping through the loophole: how viability assessments are reducing affordable housing in England'.
In this report, Shelter calls for affordable housing policies to be drafted and tested for viability at plan level with a more limited role for site-level viability assessments.
Further recommendations include transparency of site-level viability assessments, faster planning approvals for policy-compliant schemes and a redefinition of the returns supported by the planning system.
Shelter points out that the current system rewards developers who overpay for land, which has consequently seen land prices soar, and that larger schemes typically deliver fewer affordable homes than smaller ones.
The House Builders Association (HBA), the house building division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), praises Shelter’s approach and commends them on facilitating an informed debate.
Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor of the HBA, said:
“Shelter’s report highlights the need for a more nuanced discussion about the housing crisis and we commend their efforts to understand affordable housing supply from a delivery point of view. We also welcome their analysis differentiating affordable housing delivery on large and smaller sites.
“The HBA has always maintained that SMEs, who typically build on smaller sites, are delivering the number of affordable homes expected of them and we are delighted to see that reflected in Shelter’s research. We hope any planners who want to meaningfully increase the supply of local affordable homes will begin making many more small sites available and enabling SME developers.”