Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield (HOU 34)


  The Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield have just completed research evaluating the effectiveness of land use planning system in achieving affordable housing.

  Our main conclusions include:

  The policy of linking land allocation for affordable housing to that of financing that housing is both generally accepted and becoming more effective. So far, however the impact has been mainly in terms of enabling more affordable housing to be built in more expensive places.

  If it is to work better in the future more has to be provided both in terms of numbers and financial contributions. There are three distinct types of development that must be encouraged:

  Affordable housing development which needs no additional subsidy. This is currently mainly occurring in the North and Midlands in the form of low cost home ownership. It is far less likely in the South and where authorities operate a no SHG policy they usually achieve far less housing. Yet there are opportunities for such contributions perhaps especially on smaller sites;

  Developments which both contributions and SHG. Here the objective must be to make the SHG go further—which means moving away from negotiations based around TCI and looking at a broader mix of developments to include lower subsidy elements such as key worker housing; and

  Developments involving SHG but no s106 agreement. These are mainly 100 per cent affordable housing sites. As the s106 policy becomes more embedded it is likely to become harder to obtain 100 per cent affordable housing sites. Yet to provide enough affordable housing overall, given the likely proportions made available on s106 sites and also effectively to use financial contributions from small and non-residential site developments is going to mean that far more such sites need to be made available. This is a major area of concern with respect to the government's proposals.

  Only if all three types of development occur, and additional government subsidy is made available, is there any chance of providing both the numbers of affordable housing required and an appropriate mix of tenures and types of housing to long term aspirations.

  The detailed Findings of our report are attached and the main report will be available in mid-October.

Christine Whitehead

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