Industry news

Mainly bad news on affordable housebuilding for rent

allocated budget for new housing, while new figures also show the planning system and developers are failing to meet demand for social rentals. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and


Local Government has returned £817m to the Treasury as the department failed to spend the cash, despite claims it could have been used for funding health & safety works to high rise tower blocks and/or buying properties for use as affordable homes (for rent and sale). The unspent cash included £72m for affordable homes, £65m for London and £329m for the ‘starter homes’ programme for first-time buyers. MHCLG has insisted the money will be spent in

future years and it is investing £9bn in housing overall, but Labour has accused ministers of ‘selling families short’. A Government spokesman said: “We are delivering the homes needed and since 2010 have built over 357,000 new affordable properties. We are determined to do more and are investing a further £9bn, including £2bn to help councils and housing associations build social rent homes where they are most needed.” An investigation by The Guardian newspaper has

found many cities in England and Wales are giving planning permission for large private residential developments with little or no social or affordable housing. The worst performer was Manchester with no affordable housing approved in 2016 or 2017, followed closely by Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham and Bristol – all with single digit percentages below seven. The best performing city was Cardiff where 24 per cent of the homes granted planning approval met the affordable definition, followed by Newcastle and Birmingham with 19 and 14 per cent respectively. Ministers are being urged to significantly

increase the building of affordable rented homes after analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that only 100 homes a week out of the 600 needed to meet demand, are due to be built under current proposals. The JRF said increasing numbers of families are being locked out of owning their own home and the Government’s plans were falling “woefully short” of what is required. Overall it estimated that supply has fallen short of demand by 30,000 every year since 2011 and the cumulative shortfall could reach 335,000 by the end of this parliament. The Local Government Association has

published figures showing that more than 423,000 homes have been given planning permission but are still waiting to be built, a rise of 16 per cent in the last year. Councils are also approving nine in every 10 applications. LGA figures also show that developers are taking longer to build new homes. It now takes 40 months, on average, from schemes

he Government’s commitment to providing additional low cost housing received a jolt with news it was failing to spend its

receiving planning permission to building work being completed – eight months longer than in 2013/14. Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said:

“These figures prove the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In the last year, councils and their communities granted twice as many planning permissions as the number of new homes that were completed. No-one can live in a planning permission. Councils need greater powers to act where housebuilding has stalled. To tackle the new homes backlog and to get the country building again, councils need the freedom to borrow and invest in desperately needed new homes, as recognised by the Treasury Select Committee.” There was better news from the capital where

London Mayor Sadiq Khan along with Croydon, Lambeth and Westminster councils have jointly invested £45m in a scheme to buy 330 existing properties from the private sector, to be let at genuinely affordable rents to families already homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. The scheme, called “Real Lettings Property Fund

2”, is being run by Resonance Limited, a social impact investment company, and the homelessness charity St Mungo’s. Together they hope to attract enough support from other boroughs and investors in the capital to reach the fund’s target of £100 million. They already run two similar projects that have housed approximately 1,300 people, with all tenants sustaining their tenancy for more than six months and 44 per cent in employment. Transport for London is hoping to build its

biggest housing scheme to date consisting of 1,500 homes (600 of them affordable) on land at the Limmo Peninsula in Newham, east London. The site is very close to the newly constructed east –

12 | HMM March 2018 |

An investigation by The Guardian newspaper has found many cities in England and Wales are giving planning permission for large private residential developments with little or no social or affordable housing

west Crossrail Elizabeth line. The new homes will contribute towards a target of more than 10,000 houses and flats on 75 TfL sites across the capital. Lambeth Council in south London has approved

a scheme to lend more than £300m to its housing company (Homes for Lambeth) to build 300 homes over five years through estate regeneration works. It eventually hopes to build 2,000 new homes over the next decade. But one quick build initiative has hit the rocks.

Warrington based Your Housing Group, with 28,000 properties across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands, has pulled out of its £2.75bn joint venture scheme with Chinese backed Welink, to build 25,000 modular homes a year at six factories across the UK. The association’s board decided the project was not progressing quickly enough to meet its development ambitions. Both companies still expect to continue with planned provision of new modular housing.

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