HBA: Proactive local authorities are vital to solve the rural housing crisis

Posted On: 
5th July 2018

SMEs are already the most likely to meet affordable housing requirements and typically build homes for local people, says NFB.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has made five key suggestions which would ensure more genuinely affordable homes are built in rural areas.

  • Help to bring forward land cheaply 
  • Hold developers accountable
  • Be properly rural-proofed 
  • Empower rural communities 
  • Build more genuinely affordable homes

The CPRE goes on to identify the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and forthcoming Social Housing Green Paper as “vital in ensuring that our villages and market towns remain vibrant and thriving places for future generations to live and work.”

Five steps to fix the rural housing crisis - CPRE

The House Builders Association (HBA) – the house building division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) – welcomes the CPRE’s contribution to the rural planning debate, specifically on the need to bring forward cheaper land.

However, the HBA advises the Government to make sure local planning authorities (LPA) are being proactive and delivering best practice before any radical changes are considered.

This includes making sure that the strategic market housing assessments are up to date and five year land supplies are deliverable, and that LPAs are open about how they spend their developer contributions.

In rural communities the threshold for affordable housing is 5 units, with sites delivering 6-10 units able to offer commuted sums. Too often this commuted sum, or developer contribution, goes into a central budget which will not necessarily deliver homes local to the original development.

Shelter’s viability report ‘Slipping through the loophole’ examples that smaller sites deliver the most amount of affordable housing. Yet LPAs too readily meet housing need through their five year land supply with large sites and volume development, particularly in out of town locations.

With SMEs most likely to meet affordable housing requirements, the HBA calls on local authorities to be more proactive when assessing sites for their five year land supply and more open about how and why developer contributions are spent.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Local authorities need to be more proactive about facilitating best practice and that includes being upfront about developer contributions.

“SMEs are already the most likely to meet affordable housing requirements and typically build homes for local people. They are the lifeblood of our rural communities and their engagement is vital if we are to solve the rural housing crisis.”