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



Our Next Event

Complex Lending Roadshow March 2017

Complex Lending Roadshow March 2017

Bolton - 14/03/2017

Barnsley - 15/03/2017

Solihull - 16/03/2017

Watford - 17/03/2017

Register now

Latest Comments

Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

view article
CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

view article
Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 16 Jan 2017

HMOs do make great commercial sense, but do the area research first!

view article
OJoyce
OJoyce 30 Dec 2016

We can only hope this will bring the results we all want and strive for.

view article
Reality
Reality 21 Dec 2016

The changes to land tax were a shock to many when it was first announced by the Chancellor in 2015?s Autumn Statement. However, once the changes came into place and the full details were digested, it?s...

view article
akbar ali dayala
akbar ali dayala 20 Dec 2016

I am a landlord and director of an online letting agents at the moment we charge tenants minimal fees and landlord also meaning we can get best deals for tenants all around if the ban comes in it...

view article
milessgabriel
milessgabriel 05 Dec 2016

Useful article

view article
Spencer Fortag
Spencer Fortag 30 Nov 2016

I am glad that someone listened to me!

view article
Tony Gimple
Tony Gimple 27 Nov 2016

It's not just the lack of estate agency advice that's costing landlords money; most are getting seriously bad advice from their accountants resulting in tax bills far higher than they need to be. Likewise,...

view article
Sally Walmsley
Sally Walmsley 18 Nov 2016

The RLA stands by its sell-off statistics. While we welcome the feedback from Mr Jagota and are delighted to hear how well things are going for landlords in the north east, we would like to make it clear...

view article
Sheryl87
Sheryl87 18 Nov 2016

The high employment levels and the vibrant economy has led to ever-increasing demand for rental properties, especially from professionals relocations from other cities. This has led to more experts teaming...

view article
Sheryl87
Sheryl87 18 Nov 2016

Renting out your house can be risky business. It's good to think about residential landlords insurance. Standard cover includes buildings cover and cover for loss of rent following damage to a property...

view article

Related stories

More articles from Property