Commenting on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) launching affordable homes funding, Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:
‘While this funding seems impressive, it was announced in the Budget and doesn’t represent any additional investment to tackle the affordability crisis. What’s more, the government risks looking disingenuous when it claims to be keen to tackle the issue of affordability given outrageous proposals in the recently published planning white paper.
‘As things stand, the government’s planning reforms seek to scrap the requirement to deliver affordable homes on anything other than large sites, which would worsen the housing crisis. Currently developers on small to medium sites are required to build affordable homes if the site includes more than ten units. The reforms as they stand raise this to up to 50 units leaving most rural areas with many fewer affordable homes. This would be disastrous as it would make the existing affordable housing crisis in our rural communities even worse.
‘In some rural areas house prices are often more than ten times average earnings. CPRE analysis has shown that nine in ten rural areas are unaffordable for care workers in the private rented sector.
‘To begin making the hard decisions and tackling the housing crisis head on, the government should listen to local communities and ensure even small sites make a contribution to housing affordability and aren’t just lining the pockets of builders delivering executive homes. A substantial affordable housing investment programme from the government would also have the benefit of boosting the economy in a way the proposed planning reforms couldn’t hope to achieve.’