Planning changes would drastically cut affordable homes, councils say

Close to half of affordable homes in some of the most expensive areas of England will not be built if ministers proceed with changes to the planning system, analysis by councils suggests.

The government’s proposal to scrap the duty of developers to build affordable housing on sites for up to 40 or 50 homes, would have led to 30,000 of such homes going undelivered over the last five years, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Some areas likely to be most affected are the least affordable and under greatest housing pressure, the cross-party grouping said.

Elmbridge in Surrey, where the average house price is over £760,000, has 486 affordable homes either built, under construction or with planning permission over the past five years. This would be reduced to 271 if the proposed 40 or 50-unit threshold were introduced, the LGA said.

Lewes district council in East Sussex could lose up to 37% of its affordable homes, based on past trends. Council leaders in Cornwall have complained the change could result in 300 fewer affordable homes in the county every year.

The warning comes as several Conservative councils voice objections to the planning changes, which they also complain will limit local power over developments.

This article originally appeared on The Guardian on 7 October 2020 – read the full article.

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