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Affordability hand in hand with quality – and social housing a tenure of choice

Placeshapers response to the Affordable Housing Commission draws on member experience from around the country to address the key issues and propose policy suggestions or areas for further consideration that are especially relevant to them.

Throughout the response, the issue of affordability and quality is the golden thread.

PlaceShapers chair Sinéad Butters said: “We firmly believe the issue of affordability has to go hand in hand with quality – both of peoples’ homes and their neighbourhoods – if we are to ensure everyone in the country has a decent, secure home to live in.”

The response starts by looking at why housing has become unaffordable and proposes solutions. The policy recommendations include proposals for:

  • Struggling private renters
  • Those who want to buy but are struggling to save and remain in the PRS
  • Those reliant on state support who remain below the poverty line
  • Older people

It stresses the need for clarity in defining ‘affordable housing’ in policy and planning terms.

The response says: “New, increasingly complex definitions of affordable housing do not relate to a household’s ability to afford their housing nor to meeting expressed housing needs like homelessness. The definition must be amended in National Planning Policy because it carries through into investment decisions, local plans, and the many decisions being made about new developments each month. We should bring back a definition of Social Rented homes in Planning Policy.”

“…..At PlaceShapers, we care deeply about creating excellent places for people to live – not just large quantities of housing with no infrastructure, facilities or design quality. New social housing should synonymous with quality.  So new social homes should be built to the highest standards, such as Nationally Defined Space Standards and ultra high energy efficiency standards, such as Passivhaus. This would help make new social housing a tenure of choice.”

 Read the full response.

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