Local Labour Councillors have been doing so for some time but the public also need to protest if they genuinely want affordable housing – an article by Kay Murphy
Swale News Extra has reported more than once on developers reducing the number of affordable houses they build. They can do this using a legal loophole after planning permission has been granted. Based on the number of affordable houses they’ve given in the planning application, developers can later submit a viability assessment that argues it’s no longer financially viable to build that number and arguing for a reduction. Consultants are willing to help developers, advertising for example, ‘a good track record for securing reductions’ (in the number of affordable homes to be built) ‘including removing the requirement altogether’. The financial figures ‘proving’ the developers’ case are covered by commercial confidentiality so can’t usually be made public.
The battle for affordable housing isn’t being fought on an even playing field when developers are able to use viability assessments to maximise their profits by reducing the number of homes they build.
With so many developers wanting to build in Swale’ the public needs to be aware of what’s happening and start protesting. Viability assessments should be open to public scrutiny. The tide is turning, communities are beginning to take action – and some are winning.