On Saturday 3rd March, Jerome Starkey, Countryside correspondent for The Times reported that CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) and Shelter (charity for the homeless) commissioned a study to look at the number of affordable houses delivered by 150 developments versus the number promised at planning submission.
The study revealed that the number of affordable homes built was cut by almost half (48%) as developers were able to use a confidential viability assessment which permits them to reduce the number if they can demonstrate insufficient profit. The confidentiality factor means that it cannot be readily challenged.
At the same time, the profits of the three biggest housebuilders quadrupled since 2012.
The article confirmed that the term 'affordable' does not mean affordable for many local people.
The result is that the English countryside is being used to boost developers profits without providing the level of affordable housing that is needed.
Sajid Javid has promised a review of how viability is assessed. GGG poses the question; as the countryside diminishes and homelessness increases, shouldn't loopholes that feed the problem be dealt with and shouldn't the policies that exacerbate the problem be changed forthwith?