63% of UK councils say their affordable housing need is severe, per a report published by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).
A further 35% of the 141 councils that responded to a survey question said their need was moderate.
The report, (Delivering Affordable Homes in a Changing World), written and researched by the Town and Country Planning Association says that a shortage in investment in “genuine affordable housing” and “deregulation of planning” is limiting the local authorities capability in delivering the homes needed.
Additionally, the report says that over the last year, 67% of English councils say the statutory homelessness levels have risen in their local area.
During this time, 57% say that rough sleeping has also risen.
The government has introduced permitted development rights with the aim of delivering more housing.
This only requires a prior approval process, not a full planning application to the local authority.
While this has created more homes, it has not allowed councils to obtain the necessary affordable housing, or help them deal with rising homelessness.
Several recommendations come alongside delivering affordable houses.
The social housing green paper should embody a change in responsibility of the central government as facilitators of social housing.
Distribution should be left in the hands of local authorities and their delivery partners.
It shouldn’t be “tinkering”.
It should be clarified by the government that right to buy rules do not apply to local authority housing companies.
Having said this, to safeguard that the long-term investment programme is not undermined, dwelling built by local authority housing companies must be able to be replaced on a “1:1 basis”.
To echo local circumstances, the government ought to “reverse the central imposition of permitted development” giving control back to local authorities.
Permitted development rights should not be granted by the government when commercial buildings are being replaced with residential dwellings.
The chief executive at APSE Paul O’Brien said:
“Decent housing in a well-planned environment provides a foundation for helping people to maximise their contribution to society, and to create areas that are economically prosperous. What our report highlights is the extent to which insecure tenancy arrangements in the private rented sector are directly contributing to the rise in homelessness. We need local councils to act as ‘market disruptors’; bringing stability and capacity to the social rented sector which in turn will help to stem these almost unprecedented rises in both statutory homelessness and rough sleeping.”
O’Brien continued to say that investment in high-quality social could save public funds.
It could lead to a reduction in poor physical and mental health outcomes;
“currently experienced by those living in an unstable private rented sector or those in temporary accommodation”.
The government should be “bold and ambitious” when dealing with the housing issues, says O’Brien.
Assisting councils in resuming to providing homes is a segment of the answer.
The capability councils have to deal with the lack of affordable housing is being “undermined by planning deregulation”, said the chief executive at the TCPA, Kate Henderson.
If it isn’t compulsory for an applicant to obtain full planning permission, councils will not able to fix a contribution to affordable housing from the developer explained Henderson, while;
“little or no thought is given to the most basic issues, such as where children can play or whether there are enough doctors’ surgeries in the area. We are calling on the government to reverse the central imposition of permitted development and give powers back to local authorities to reflect local circumstances.”
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