Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, has criticised government’s policy on affordable housing in a speech in the House of Lords, arguing that the current rules ‘let developers off the hook’ when it comes to building affordable homes. New rules introduced in 2012 mean that developers can now argue that they don’t need to include affordable homes in a scheme if it makes it unprofitable for the developers. The Government’s own figures show that 40,000 social homes were built for social rent in 2010, but since the rules came into place, it has now dropped to 5,500.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, said: “Despite our best efforts in Watford, we are being hamstrung by national rules that give too much power to developers and not enough control to local councils. It is becoming clear that this is a counterproductive and damaging measure, resulting in the loss of many thousands of homes for people stuck in temporary accommodation for far longer than I ever thought we would see on my watch, and with the only winners being landowners and house-builders who are reporting record profits.
“The policies we have set in Watford to meet our local needs are being flouted purely because of this national policy. Government need to act now to close loopholes and massively improve the transparency of the process, giving much needed powers back to local authorities.”
- See a full copy of Baroness Dorothy Thornhill’s speech
- The rules surrounding viability assessments were introduced in the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework, p41