Archived press release: Government must explain how it will make up affordable homes shortfall

Following the news that councils will be prevented from asking developers on small sites for contributions towards affordable housing, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, Lib Dem Group Leader at the Local Government Association said:

"The LGA and Liberal Democrat councillors have been expressing our opposition to this. Unless it is in a very rural area councils will now be unable to ask for contributions towards affordable homes for sites with 10 or fewer properties.

"We also know that in some local authority areas only small sites tend to become available – for example in Shropshire over 80% of sites are 5 or fewer homes. We appreciate that a concession was made for a few areas – for example in national parks developers can still be asked for a contribution if it is between 6 and 10 properties.

"But the evidence is clear that developers will try to play the system and always go as low as they can, which will also not help with national housebuilding targets. So it is now up to Eric Pickles and his Department to explain how they will be working with those councils that will be affected by this move to ensure they have the funds to build the affordable homes they need.

"This is a further assault on localism and councils who try hard to do the right thing and provide affordable homes in their areas. Affordable housing has never been so high up the political agenda as it is now – so the Government must act".

Contact Gerald Vernon Jackson on 07976 949272


Note to editors:
1. The LGA has stated that 80 per cent of applications in Shropshire are five units or less because of the rural nature of much of the county. This would mean developers in much of the county would not have to provide affordable housing or contributions towards it.
2. The Government have now said that unless it is in an exempted rural area, developers can only be asked for a contribution towards affordable housing if more than 10 properties are being built on a site.
3. For designated rural areas under section 157 of the Housing Act 1985, which includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, authorities may choose to implement a lower threshold of 5-units or less, beneath which affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought. This will also apply to all residential annexes and extensions. Within these designated areas, if the 5-unit threshold is implemented then payment of affordable housing and tariff style 10 contributions on developments of between 6 to 10 units should also be sought as a cash payment only and be commuted until after completion of units within the development.
4. These changes in national planning policy will not apply to Rural Exception Sites which, subject to the local area demonstrating sufficient need, remain available to support the delivery of affordable homes for local people. However, affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought in relation to residential annexes and extensions.


9 November 2016