Memorandum by David Lobban & Judith
Gannon (HOU 17)
Whether the funds in the Comprehensive Spending
Review will achieve the Government's target of a decent home for
everyone by 2010.
It is unlikely that the funds arising from the
Comprehensive Spending Review will be sufficient to meet the scale
of the problem in the time allotted.
The manner in which the available funds are
allocated is critical to this (see points 2 and 5 below).
How spending of the new resources should be balanced
between social housing and options for owner occupation for those
who cannot afford to buy (including shared ownership) and the
mechanisms to be used for their distribution.
A significant proportion of the population in
need of affordable housing aspire to buy their own home. The biggest
hindrance to buying is the lack of sufficient incomes to afford
There is no reason why by providing smaller
units of accommodation, or units where the purchaser fits their
own kitchen or bathroom (the developer providing the "shell"),
that homes to buy could not be provided at lower market access
levels in a similar manner to that used in some parts of Europe,
which would enable a significant proportion of those in need to
buy their own home.
This option requires little or no subsidy from
local authority or government sources.
The future retention of these homes as affordable
can be controlled by restrictive covenants on price on future
saleperhaps by links to indexationor with surplus
proceeds of future sales going towards other affordable houses.
There is little point in providing subsidy to
registered social landlords for social housing which then require
further annual subsidy to maintain and manage that housing when
there are viable alternatives available.
The role of planning obligations in providing
The use of planning obligations will be essential
in ensuring that affordable housing is both provided in the first
instance and that it remains affordable. This latter point relates
particularly to units of affordable housing provided for sale
where covenants may also be required to ensure that the unit remains
The effectiveness of the Housing Market Review
Fund in tackling housing needs in areas with low demand.
We have no experience of the Housing Market
How the quality of new affordable housing can
be ensured and the poor design of previous house building programmes
The need for quality affordable housing well
integrated with other housing is set out in PPG3 and endorsed
by the main sectors of the housing market. The key problems in
achieving this objective arise from the failure to institute development
briefs providing design guidance for the whole of development
sites and the fact that the affordable housing is frequently developed
in isolation from the rest of the housing stock.
This latter point arises because of the incompatibility
between development time scales and the funding arrangements for
the provision of affordable hosing via registered social landlords.
A further problem arises because registered social landlords frequently
wish to build to different standards than those accepted by purchasers.
In addition, they require the units to be grouped together for
ease of management.
Finally, they appear to have a predisposition
for traditional three-bed, semi-detached units with seven metres
of garden, which inevitably leads to "suburbia" which
is frequently poorly integrated or at odds with the urban design
solutions which apply to many urban Brownfield sites.