Blackpool, Knowsley and Pendle residents take home some of the lowest incomes in England, yet no new affordable housing was delivered through the planning system in 2016/17, according to a report published today (11 October).
Ipswich and Hounslow councils also both failed to deliver any affordable housing.
Additionally, less than 16 per cent of their requirements were met by other means, with Blackpool delivering 43, Knowsley 81, Pendle 47, Ipswich 89 and Hounslow 281.
The report issues a number of recommendations to address a lack of affordable homes being delivered in deprived areas, including reinstating a definition of affordable housing that links affordability to income.
Overall, Planning for Affordable Housing, observes that English councils in the most deprived areas of England are meeting only a fraction of their requirements for affordable housing through the planning system because it is not set up to deliver homes for people in the greatest need.
At the other end of the scale, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Nationwide Foundation report that more affluent areas – such as the Vale of White Horse – were able to deliver 96 per cent of their affordable housing using the planning system.
In England, 70 per cent of councils say they rely on the planning system to enable them to meet housing need. Figures in the report suggest that over half of councils have set a minimum threshold for affordable homes using their local plans, but only 2 per cent achieved it. The organisations highlight that developers tend to bypass local requirements for affordable housing by initially submitting a scheme that meets the threshold but later back out of the commitment, claiming unworkable profit margins.
Although the government introduced a rule earlier this year that aims to restrict the use of viability testing to only “particular circumstances”, the TCPA and Nationwide Foundation report that councils don’t think this will curb the problem.
Additionally, Planning for Affordable Housing states that councils specify much lower numbers of affordable housing in their local plans than necessary because they believe that the true requirement would deter developers from investing in their areas. Deprived areas have set their target as low as 5 per cent when their need is as high as 84 per cent......................