Campaign Group responds to key Government announcements on housing and planning

11 of the largest housing associations in the South West of England have welcomed Government announcements of a new multi-year settlement for the Affordable Homes Programme and reforms to the planning system.

Members of the leading campaign group Homes for the South West have been consistent advocates for an urgent increase in long-term investment in new social and affordable homes through additional grant funding. Homes for the South West’s General Election manifesto urged all candidates to pledge to work towards this aim. The group also highlighted the outdated planning system as a “serious barrier to quickly delivering affordable housing“.

Responding to the Budget and planning reform announcements, Homes for the South West Chair, Victor da Cunha said:

“As a group of like-minded regional housing associations collaborating to deliver the affordable homes the South West needs, we’ve been working with stakeholders locally and nationally to make the case for increased funding and changes to the planning system. We know that these two areas are a serious barrier to developing the homes our region needs. In the South West alone 15,000 affordable homes are needed annually, of which some 8,000 should be for social rent – that means that just over 1 in 10 of all new affordable homes in the UK need to be built here.

We were delighted to see that the Government has placed funding for affordable housing and reforms to the planning system at the heart of its agenda, and we welcome the additional £9.5bn for affordable housing and the certainty this offers for an additional five years.

We await further detail on these policies so that we can understand the full impact. We look forward to understanding the practicality of linking such funding to a new ‘right to shared ownership’.

We call on the Government to ensure that the future programme delivers social rented homes as well as affordable home ownership and are interested to see how the Government will ensure that the broad need for housing in the South West is met.

As we identified in our 2019 election manifesto, the planning system can be a serious barrier to quickly delivering affordable housing. We therefore welcome the idea that planning teams will get the resources they need to deliver efficient and effective planning decisions, and we are pleased to see proposals aimed at speeding up developments. We also hope that changes to housing need assessments underscore not only the quantity needed but also the types of affordable homes required across the regions.

Housing associations are key partners in solving the housing crisis and we hope that the Government will recognise this by adopting long-term, well-informed thinking so that we can build the right homes in the right places.