Category Archives: developments

Labour to scrap developers’ social housing dodge / tiny homes rules

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The next Labour government – should there be one, of course – will abolish rules that allow developers to avoid building social housing and instead create ‘slum housing’, or so the currently not-in-power Labour party has promised.

Introduced in 2013 by the Tory-led coalition, permitted development rights allow housebuilders to circumvent normal planning rules and local authorities when converting former commercial spaces into homes.

The handy loophole alleviates builders of the demand to supply new affordable homes while simultaneously gifting them the strange right to avoid normal space standards, and are thus free to construct flats that are only a few feet wide should they wish.

The Tories and their Lib Dem underlings introduced the rules to give a quick fix to housebuilding figures – however, like much of the coalition’s oeuvre, the plan seems to have backfired/failed miserably, with the local Government Association estimating that over 10,000 affordable homes have been lost to the literally dodgy rules in the last three years.

Meanwhile, in another damning blow, research by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reveals that permitted development rights have ‘allowed extremely poor-quality housing to be developed’, with only 30% of homes created via the rules meeting space standards.

Since 2015, 42,000 housing units have been birthed in former commercial buildings.

According to John Healey MP, Labour’s shadow housing minister, the Tories’ ‘permitted development rules have created a get-out clause for developers to dodge affordable homes requirements and build slum housing’.

The MP added: ‘To fix the housing crisis, we need more genuinely affordable, high-quality homes. This Conservative housing free-for-all gives developers a free hand to build what they want but ignore what local communities need.

‘Labour will give local people control over the housing that gets built in their area and ensure developers build the low-cost, high-quality homes that the country needs.’

Social housing ‘attracts drugs and other illegal activities’ leaflet claims

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An interesting leaflet has appeared in a corner of Kent in relation to a proposed social housing development.

The missive’s alarmed authors challenge residents to take a stance against the 60-flat scheme in Gravesend, and claim that ‘social housing traditionally attracts drugs and other illegal activities’.

Signed ‘Your local parish council’, the leaflet urges readers to ‘please act now!’ and asks if they want ‘unsavoury characters walking past your homes and into your neighbourhood and schools’.

The leaflet – which is entirely in uppercase, perhaps demonstrating the fury/fear/urgency the writers feel – also claims that the development risks a ‘devaluation of your property’ and a ‘rise in crime as residents will be rehoused from London and surrounding suburbs bringing with them gangs and knife crime’.

Additionally, the flyer warns that the 60 new builds will bring 200+ cars with them, which is about 3.33 cars per home – a ‘stat’ I didn’t know about social housing tenants, or perhaps the authors based the figure on projected drug dealing proceeds?

According to Gravesham Borough Council’s planning portal, the development Lodge Valley Drive comprises the ‘Demolition of existing house and outbuildings and erection of a part four storey and part three storey building for the residential development of 20no. one bedroom, 41no. two bedroom and 3no. three bedroom apartments with associated car parking’.

Though credited to the parish council, the word on Twitter is that it’s not, thankfully, their work – and I couldn’t get through when I tried to ring them so that’ll have to do for the time being.