NPPF Changes Consultation 2015

Affordable Housing

Question 1.

Do you have any comments or suggestions about the proposal to amend the definition of affordable housing in national planning policy to include a range of low cost homes?

  • Section 50 of the NPPF states that planning authorities should "plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends". However, this section of NPPF also allows developers to offer an "off-site provision or a financial contribution of broadly equivalent value" instead of the affordable housing required. The result is that affordable housing is in short supply, and when it is built it is likely to be concentrated around already deprived areas rather than in the mix that the NPPF demands.
  • Broadening the definition of affordable housing will not rectify this fundamental problem. It will only provide the developer/house builder with more ways of avoiding the construction of the type of housing needed. Instead the government should tighten the conditions so that developers cannot avoid the provision of ‘affordable’ housing.
  • The constant reference in the NPPF consultation regarding ‘affordable homes’ to ‘products’ illustrates the mind-set of the author and their Government sponsors. Everything is biased to a ‘market’ view of housing provision and the drive to encourage participation by the financial services sector whose appalling reputation for mis-selling novel financial products is self-evident.
  • The average market price of a house in Guildford borough is approximately just under £500,000 (see South West Surrey Joint SHMA, G L Hearn, January 2015). A 20% discount as proposed for ‘starter homes’ results in a property sale price of approximately £400,000. Currently, this will not buy a three-bedroom semi-detached house in the borough. The estimated average market rent for a three-bedroom semi detached house in Guildford borough is approximately £1,350 pcm (see RightMove and Zoopla web sites). The ‘affordable home’ definition in Annex 2 of the NPPF proposes 80% of these rates as ‘affordable’. 
  • It has been suggested by many elsewhere that a family with two adult wage earners would need an annual joint income somewhere in the region of £75,000 to even attempt to consider the above options. Suggesting that they have the opportunity to invest in a ‘Help to Buy ISA’ will only benefit the financial services industry.
  • We propose an increase in the discount rate for ‘starter homes’ to 30%.

2017 Guildford Local Plan

Guildford’s NEW local Plan has just opened for consultation. PLEASE RESPOND before 24th July 2017.  GGG has published its responses to Local Plan Policies here 

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