Planning for Affordable Housing

This report looks at the reasons why councils aren’t meeting demands for affordable housing in England.

The research, funded by the Nationwide Foundation, finds that councils rely substantially on the planning system to create new affordable housing but many areas see almost none delivered through it.

Councils where residents were among the lowest earners in the country said that they are being ‘left behind’ by the current system because high-value areas are the only ones which are able to meet developers’ profit margins and therefore attract investment.

In one case study a local authority reduced the number of affordable homes required in their local plan to 5% in a bid to attract developers — when their actual requirement was closer to 85% — but still saw no new homes for lower earning residents.

Our research also found that councils feel that use of the viability test, which was revised recently in the NPPF to be used only in ‘special circumstances’, said that they foresee further problems with the new methodology.

The report makes 13 recommendations for how government must reform the planning system to create more high-quality, genuinely affordable housing.