NPPF Changes Consultation 2015

Affordable Housing - Page 2

Question 2.

Do you have any views on the implications of the proposed changes to the definition of affordable housing on people with protected characteristics as defined in the Equalities Act 2010? What evidence do you have on this?

  • We would like to see social rented housing to be retained in perpetuity unless finance is available to cover the net loss and so add to the low rental housing pool. Extending the ‘right to buy’ to housing associations will increase the existing shortage of rented accommodation and is a retrograde step.
  • In some towns, such as Guildford, student accommodation has not been made available on campus so housing at the lower end of the market is not available for first time buyers as it is being made available to students by local landlords. Information from the local authority implies at least 1,500 properties in the town being rented as student accommodation.
  • We are concerned that the proposals will contravene the 2010 Equalities Act in terms of socio-economic discrimination against the poorer sectors of the community, including those who will be unable to afford market housing even with the 20% reduction. 
  • In most local authorities there is a long waiting list for social rented accommodation. We appreciate the government’s wish to encourage home ownership but it is essential to also provide accommodation for those unable to afford starter homes. In our opinion it is essential that Local Authorities have the power to require developers to make a contribution towards an element of social housing.
  • We have reservations on the numbers of dwellings for first time buyers which can be built with a cap of £250,000 in Guildford; it would be difficult to purchase a dwelling for £250,000 even with the 20% reduction, except perhaps for a small one bedroom flat. The price difference between London at £450,000 and elsewhere of £250,000 is a crude cut-off and a sliding scale should be provided.
  • We are also concerned at the cut off age of 40. Older families could be in greater need. 

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