Councils hold key to affordable housing crisis

Councils hold key to affordable housing crisis

Land agent Aston Mead is calling on local councils to play a greater part in the push to create more affordable homes.

The company’s comments follow a recent analysis of London Land Commission data, which indicates that 93% of brownfield sites in London are owned by local authorities.

Aston Mead Director Adam Hesse said: “The only way to build cheaper homes is to pay less for the land on which they are built. We can’t expect private landowners to reduce their profits by selling land at subsidised prices. So as the largest landowners in the country, it’s the councils which hold the key to solving the affordable housing crisis. They need to identify the brownfield sites they are currently sitting on, and make them available.”

Under the Housing and Planning Bill, all local authorities will be required to keep up-to-date registers of publicly-owned brownfield land that could be suitable for development. Adam Hesse suggests that councils could start to act like residential property developers, perhaps in joint ventures with existing construction companies.

He explains: “One idea could be for councils to build 25% of their homes on their own land for housing benefit tenants, whilst retaining ownership of these properties. This would prevent payments being made to ‘Rachman’ style landlords, whilst giving the council more control over those who are in genuine need of accommodation. The local authorities would also retain the value of their estates as long term investors.

In addition, another 50% could be built for keyworkers, who would perhaps be allowed to buy half and rent half, with the option to buy the remainder of the property at a later stage. A pre-agreed mechanism could be put in place, whereby these owners could only sell the properties to other keyworkers, or back to the local authority. This would ensure that the properties remain affordable.

Finally, as councils are spending a lot of money housing older people with no way of paying for themselves, the remaining 25% could be built as sheltered accommodation – such as apartment blocks with a resident warden for the over-65s. However, it may be that 25% of each site needs to be sold to developers at market value, to help pay for the rest of the development.”

The recent ‘Domesday Book’ survey of all brownfield land owned by public bodies in London identified almost 37,000 brownfield sites (36,797), which in total could deliver over 100,000 homes.

Adam Hesse added: “What I’m suggesting doesn’t just apply to London. It’s something which could be carried out across the UK. Local authorities are the only organisations that can deliver cheap land for affordable housing in the sort of quantities this country so desperately needs.”

Join our mailing list:

Leave a comment

Latest Comments

Northerner 20 Oct 2016

Any views from outside the M25? No wonder politicians can't get the housing big picture when everyone seems to think that London is the yard stick, when it absolutely is not.

view article
Sean Lees
Sean Lees 13 Oct 2016

I think that the pest control really depends on the situation. If the tenant moved in and found an infestation that needs pest treatment service, I think it's more reasonable that the landlord should pay...

view article
Kevin 13 Oct 2016

Please Sian Berry Dan Wilson Craw LANDLORDS DO NOT WANT TO RAISE RENTS They are being forced to because of Section 24! An unfair, punitive tax hike that will be a disaster Green Party, Generstion...

view article
Fletcher88 11 Oct 2016

Absolutely agree! Moreover property prices edged up with 0.7% this month as the market recovered from the initial Brexit hit

view article
Gary Das
Gary Das 06 Oct 2016

A lot of lenders (especially the high-street banks and lenders people approach first) could do more to accommodate for the self-employed. It can really be a struggle, as I found out myself last year when...

view article
richardrawlings 04 Oct 2016

Not sure I understand this! If Basildon and Hemel rose 68% and 52% respectively, why do they not appear in the top ten list, which appears only to feature those in the minus 20's!! Is it me?

view article
luxus 27 Sep 2016

It can be stressful. More clarity is needed on the process, from a customer perspective and consideration should be given to using the Scandinavian model where the sales process is much quicker.

view article
Melissa_Green 26 Sep 2016

Green belts are normally designated around capitals and other major cities and conurbations and their aim is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. The essential characteristics of green...

view article
Jimmy_McCoy 16 Sep 2016

I think that the main reason to buy garden purchases in last minute is because people always search for the best deal. In summer months there are abundance of seasonal goods and it means more low cost

view article
Jimmy_McCoy 16 Sep 2016

Buying a home often is more expensive than you expect. There are lots of hidden costs such as: stamp duty, surveys and valuations, mortgages etc. that can add more than 10% to the total bill

view article
Homebuyerconveyancing 15 Sep 2016

We are seeing a massive influx of Homebuyers using online Estate Agents. The winners are the online portals that still aim to manage the customer journey to homeownership. They provide a valuation service,...

view article
oliviaG 12 Sep 2016

Without a doubt renovating can truly be very beneficial to many homeowners but it depends to a great extent on the condition of your home and the parts of it you want to refresh. Before you start you should...

view article

Related stories

More articles from Property

Buy-to-Let Roadshow 2016

21st-24th November

4 days
7 specialists
4 locations
Free to attend

Click here to register now