Why Affordable Housing Does Not Get Built
It’s in the nature of sitting on a planning committee that you are forced to make decisions, one way or the other, without being fully satisfied.
Today, on the New Forest District Council, we were faced with a decision as to whether to approve an excellent, well-designed scheme for housing that will be constructed on land in Lymington that currently contains disused, ugly, farm buildings.
The only downside, (apart from the loss of a potential employment site), was that the applicants were seeking to get permission without the usual requirement to provide an element of affordable housing within the scheme.
Up and down the country, developers are escaping the responsibility of providing affordable housing scheme, either by only providing very small housing schemes or by providing an independent report that confirms that the scheme would be economically unviable if the local authority were to insist upon it.
I really annoys me that developers can shirk the responsibility for providing a fair amount of affordable housing.
However, it would be equally unfair to refuse permission in all such cases with no housing then being built.
I urged fellow members of the committee to “Seize the day” and vote the scheme through, which they did do.
However, I am strongly of the view that central government needs to address the issue of somehow compelling developers to provide affordable housing.
I am not an MP. so can only work within the rules laid down by Parliament.
If the conservatives are looking for a policy idea… I would suggest that they start with this one.