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Councils To Help Build As Many As 10,000 Affordable Homes

The government has announced plans to make £300m available to local councils, specifically for the purposes of building as many as ten thousand affordable homes.

The money, which is set to be available due to an increase in the housing revenue borrowing cap, is earmarked for spending on affordable housing in the years 2015-2017.

Land Sale Rules To Relax

Land and property

Another feature of the recent announcements is that the rules on councils selling vacant land for the purposes of building affordable housing will be relaxed.

In combination with an increased borrowing cap, this seems like it will be welcome news for the many people struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder.

The relaxed land sale rules mean that councils will now be allowed to sell vacant land at below market rates to organisations and people who aren't registered as social housing developers.

Taking Responsibility?

Although the moves could well improve the affordable housing situation, they also serve the function of reducing pressure on the central government to take direct action.

As Eric Pickles himself says, "We have untied the hands of councils so they can take more responsibility for housing in their area." This fits with the rest of this government's policies extremely well, as they've been seeking to devolve power – and especially responsibility – to local councils for a number of reasons for a long time.

This means that it's up to the local councils to take responsibility for the success or failure of the plan, based on their unique response to the plan.

The Housing Problem

With pressure mounting from the middle classes in one direction, the working class in a second direction, and from financial managers in yet another direction, the issue of housing is central to discussion of planning policy law.

It's a really hot issue that shows no signs of diminishing with time. It's clear that five percent mortgages haven't quite solved the problem, and equally clear that the government is not being complacent about the issue.

One question that naturally rises from all this is "Where can we expect the next affordable housing initiative to come from?"

The study of the planning policy framework could form the answer, especially if it allows large housing development companies to avoid obstacles like environmental issues at the same time as helping less well-off people afford housing.

What Do You Think?

Let us know what you think on Twitter, tweet at @planning_lawyer to chat – after this bank holiday weekend, anyway!