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.”

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AbbieP.
AbbieP. 22 Jul 2016

"While house prices in the most expensive eleven boroughs have declined values in the cheapest eleven boroughs continue to rise" - not a nice way to even out the price range. London is overrated as it

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AbbieP.
AbbieP. 21 Jul 2016

And try to profit from your decisions, I may add

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 19 Jul 2016

Retirement investment has always been one of the biggest draws of buy to let. And the buy-to-let demographic is, on balance, older. (Over a third of our applicants are over 50 at the time of application.) It...

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Forrest Wheatey
Forrest Wheatey 11 Jul 2016

I find the time perfect for ever home-owner wannabe. Prices should slowly, but steadily drop, at least for the inner buyer. Making it harder for outsiders to buy properties (the whole Brexit thing means...

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property guru
property guru 11 Jul 2016

Why should Ajay even have to be looking for it. It should be public knowledge. Why is not just publish each years and to were it is and be AUDITED. Accountability.

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property guru
property guru 11 Jul 2016

Surprise suprise

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jun 2016

This is great news for buyers and investors in a period of significant uncertainty. The 10-year buy-to-let fix at 3.99% in particular is excellent, a clear 100 bps ahead of the nearest competition. Though...

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Lee
Lee 30 Jun 2016

Let's see what happens to north-east property prices when Nissan announce they're leaving.

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DmitriKara
DmitriKara 29 Jun 2016

I just read another article about eviction rising and this was exactly what was on my mind, Housing has become "cat and mouse"...

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DmitriKara
DmitriKara 29 Jun 2016

I am really not surprised. I've seen one too many impudent tenants and in my humble opinion renters have one too many privileges and options to abuse heir landlord in so many ways...

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DmitriKara
DmitriKara 29 Jun 2016

There is still so much uncertainty and I will surely step back and see what's happening before I could make any decisions on my end.

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ChristinaReedUK
ChristinaReedUK 20 Jun 2016

I don't understand why it's always a war between the two sides. Either, way the landlord is probably keeping a detailed inventory and will see the changes you've made. I just don't understand why there...

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