LEGAL COMMENT: Weightmans experts respond to Government's social housing announcement
Housing experts from national law firm Weightmans have responded to the Government's newly announced plans to spend £2bn on the building of new…
Housing experts from national law firm Weightmans have responded to the Government's newly announced plans to spend £2bn on the building of new council houses and affordable homes for rent.
In her speech at the Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to dedicate significant grants for councils to build subsidised rented homes for those not able to buy.
However, finance is just one piece of the housing puzzle, and there are other barriers to building that will need to be overcome for this project to be successful:
Thomas Starkey, associate and housing specialist at Weightmans said:
“The Prime Minister’s plans to dedicate an additional £2 billion towards the provision of affordable housing should encourage more schemes to get off the ground, but access to funding is only part of the problem.
“Making more land available for developers and housing associations and introducing favourable planning conditions must also be prioritised. The new powers for local authorities proposed by the recent housing white paper could help on this front. But, the promises Mrs May’s made during her speech today to make social rent available to those in areas who need it most lack detail and don't address the more fundamental challenges in the housing market.
“Yet, this does represent a notable shift from the approach of the previous Conservative government, which only provided funding to housing schemes that followed the ownership model. In that respect, we are edging closer to the traditional model of social housing than we’ve been for some years, a move that should be encouraged.”
Christopher Grady, Partner and residential development specialist at Weightmans said:
“Housebuilders are already working hard to meet the Prime minister’s call to help solve the UK’s housing shortage. But, it’s important to remember that there are barriers preventing the sectors efforts that still need to be addressed, including obstacles in the planning process.
“Mrs May’s challenge also furthers the unhelpful myth that housebuilders are sitting on sites once they’ve acquired them. In my experience housebuilders are usually on the front foot when they purchase land and are keen to get on site quickly.”