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Tory proposals welcome – but risks for affordable housing

It also hailed the expectation that councils should provide local people with good quality information on housing need in each neighbourhood. And it has given a positive reception to the principle of giving local authorities and individual communities incentives to build more homes.

But the proposed scrapping of Section 106 was a major concern, the Federation said.

The NHF, which represents housing associations, said the Tory party’s plans to scrap the so-called "Section 106" system – set out in its planning green paper – could lead to a reduction of up to 40% in the number of affordable homes delivered each year.
This is because under Section 106, private developers are obliged to build a minimum number of affordable homes on sites on which they are given permission to build new properties.

Around 64,000 of the 162,000 affordable homes to be built in England between April 2008 and March 2011, will be delivered through Section 106 agreements. And, under existing government plans, at least another 162,000 affordable homes are planned for the period between April 2011 and March 2014.

The Federation said it believed any system that replaced Section 106 must be robust and deliver affordable housing where development was wanted and ensure affordable homes can be built, where necessary, even where there was some local opposition.

The Federation is also concerned that the Tories’ proposals to offer incentives to local communities to accept proposed building through the council tax system may not prove sufficient, as Federation research suggests the affordable housing incentives will add less than 1% to a typical council’s budget.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "Much of what the Conservatives propose in their green paper is positive, and we support the party’s drive to create a simpler, more transparent and consistent planning system."

However, he added: "The proposal to scrap Section 106 and replace it with a tariff system requires a leap of faith that the delivery of new homes will be maintained.

"Section 106 delivers 40% of all affordable housing, but the Conservative proposals as they stand will put this delivery at too great a risk.

"If a new planning system operates as the Conservatives envisage, all will be well; if it doesn’t, we could lose up to 64,000 new affordable homes over three years.

"The National Housing Federation is committed to working with all political parties to improve the planning system to support the delivery of new homes."
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One thought on “Tory proposals welcome – but risks for affordable housing

  1. Major Landlord says:

    The Conservatives are clearly set to re-itroduce sanity to the housing industry, with their pledged reforms all of which any sensible person should welcome.

    The fact that they are not quite so obsessed with “affordable housing” may be because they have identified it as the sham it is: a feeble effort on the part of this government to appear to be doing something positive, while actually just putting money in the pockets of greedy builders.

    We don’t need lots more housing of any kind, as we already have a surplus of property for sale and to let throughout the whole country, and thousands of empty derelict dwellings owned by councils that could easily be brought back into use. Let’s start with selling what we already have – possibly with carefully-controlled subsidies to selected key workers – before we assist greedy builders to start their state-endorsed free-for-all again.

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