Developers are using viability assessments to reduce the number of affordable homes they are required to build.

It’s very simple: If you can’t make a profit building houses, don’t build houses. Get out of that game and let somebody else do it.

One way or another, houses need to be built. And if developers don’t want to be part of the solution to that, they’re part of the problem.

And we need to get rid of the problem.

Developers are managing to dodge building tens of thousands of affordable homes in rural areas where they are most needed because of a legal loophole in planning laws, according to research by the homeless charity Shelter and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The findings of a hard-hitting report by the two organisations will place added pressure on the housing, communities and local government secretary, Sajid Javid, to announce a tightening of the rules in a speech he is to deliver on Monday on how to change planning rules to tackle the housing crisis.

While developers are required by local authorities to provide a proportion of affordable homes – often about 30% – in any new development, many use “viability assessments” to negotiate down the number by arguing that the requirement would adversely affect their profit margins.

Last year Shelter conducted research showing that the use of viability assessments in 11 local authorities across England contributed to 79% fewer affordable homes being built in urban areas of England than would have been if local rules had been followed to the letter.

Source: Loophole used to cut affordable housing in rural England – report | Politics | The Guardian

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