A report conducted by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) suggests that 63% of UK councils are struggling to secure affordable housing due to deregulation of planning and lack of investment
Almost all councils across the UK have described their need for affordable housing as severe or moderate.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), is concerned that local governments throughout the UK are struggling to tackle the issue despite their determined efforts. “Our latest research highlights that councils want to provide more affordable housing for their local communities, but their ability to do so is being undermined by planning deregulation.
“We are not providing anywhere near enough genuinely affordable homes and homelessness is rising.
The issue of affordable housing creates a catch 22 situation for the government. In order to create more homes, the government has deregulated planning by converting commercial buildings into homes through permitted development. This removes the need for developers to make a full panning application to the council.
Although this has created more homes, research suggests that this method is not allowing councils to secure affordable housing nor is it helping to combat the rising issue of homelessness.
Kate continued: “Relaxing permitted development has led to tens of thousands of new homes being created without having to get full planning permission – for example through the conversion of commercial buildings into homes.
“This means that councils are unable to secure a contribution to affordable housing from the developer, and little or no thought is given to the most basic issues, such as where children can play or whether there are enough doctors’ surgeries in the area. We are calling on the government to reverse the central imposition of permitted development and give powers back to local authorities to reflect local circumstances.”
The report titled: ‘Delivering affordable homes in a changing world: Ensuring councils can meet local housing need’ sets out 10 recommendations and has been released to coincide with the government’s consultation on the revised National Planning Policy Framework.