Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2005): Social Housing - UK

Hands-on housing

C. Marrs

Axis, vol.59, Sept./Oct. 2005, p.12

Demolition of surplus dwellings in County Durham has led to a steep rise in prices and an upsurge in homelessness. The charity Centrepoint has been working with a group of homeless young people in the locality to develop plans for a new self-build and self-renovation housing project.

Have the pathfinders lost direction?

D. Blackman

Axis, vol.59, Sept/Oct 2005, p.14-15

The government's housing market renewal pathfinders are running into opposition from local groups fighting plans for large-scale demolition of homes and from owner-occupiers, most of whose wealth is tied up in their houses, and who object to their being pulled down. There is also concern that pathfinders have failed to engage with and win over local communities and a suspicion that the government may abandon the programme to save money.

How much extra affordable housing is needed in England?

G. Bramley and N.K. Karley

Housing Studies, vol.20, 2005, p.685-715

Paper proposes a standard set of assumptions that could be run across different populations, geographical areas and time periods to assess the state of access to, and affordability of, housing. These assumptions are as used in a recent UK official index, and define local geographical units, price thresholds, affordability criteria, target groups and reckonable incomes and wealth. The approach uses a combination of the two main approaches to affordability derived from the literature, a ratios approach supplemented by a residual income test. Measures of recent and prospective needs for additional affordable housing provision, derived from this analysis of affordability, are presented and assessed.

Involving young tenants in decision-making

C. Middleton

Housing, Care and Support, vol.8, Sept. 2005, p.9-11

Report summarises lessons from a project which experimented with various approaches to increase the involvement of young tenants in housing association decision-making.

Number of young families too poor to buy own homes on increase

S. Daneshkhu

Financial Times, October 11th 2005, p.2

A growing number of young families earn too much for housing benefit but are too poor to buy even the cheapest properties in their area, according to a study published today. There are 1.25m younger households in this state according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The research identified a gap that schemes such as shared ownership and affordable private renting could fill.

Planning for Housing Provision and Draft Town and Country Planning (Green Belt) Direction 2005

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 2005

In order to release more land for house building when needed a four step process is proposed:

  • Unelected regional assemblies will set the overall level of housing provision through regional spatial strategies (RSS). These will allocate housing numbers to sub-regional housing markets and then local authorities. Markets would be designated high growth, managed growth, low growth and managed reduction.
  • Local development plans will allocate "sustainable and developable" housing land for an initial five years plus a further ten years in reserve. In high growth areas, developers will be able to bring forward sites out of the five-year land supply at any time. The five-year supply can be topped up from the ten-year bank.
  • Local authorities will monitor delivery in the context of the housing market. If land is used up more quickly than expected in high growth areas, local authorities will release land from the ten-year tranche through a supplementary planning document. A review of the RSS will be triggered to consider changing market circumstances. In managed growth areas, local authorities would continue to phase land release. In low growth and managed reduction areas, a partial RSS review would be triggered to determine whether housing numbers or market designation needed to be changed.
  • If land is being used up more slowly than expected, local authorities would investigate the reason. If the deviation is due to a long-term change in the housing market, a partial review of the RSS would be triggered to reconsider housing levels or market designations.

(For comment see Axis, vol.59, Sept./Oct 2005, p.10-11)

Search Welfare Reform on the Web