Study Shows Loophole is Reducing Affordable Homes in Rural Areas

Research from the CPRE and Shelter shows the 'viabilty loophole' is cutting thousands of homes in rural areas


A new study has shown that developers are using legal loopholes to drastically reduce the number of affordable homes they build in rural areas.

The report, from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and Shelter, shows that developers are using ‘viability assessments’ to claim they will not make an expected profit and therefore need to reduce the number of affordable homes originally promised.

Analysing eight local authorities, the report shows that that 938 homes were lost in one year alone – amounting to a 48% cut in the number of affordable homes promised.

The full report is available at this link.

Commenting on the report, Hastoe Chief Executive, Sue Chalkley, said:

“It’s a damning indictment of the current planning system that this loophole is cutting affordable homes in rural areas.”

“These affordable homes are badly needed in rural areas, as rural house prices are higher than the national average, while local wages are lower. The Government needs to act fast to close this loophole and make sure developers deliver the affordable homes they originally promised.”

“Ministers should consider removing ‘viability’ from planning rules altogether. Homes

England should be able to assist with exceptional site conditions but viability should stop becoming a common tool to water down affordable housing requirements.”

“It’s good the CPRE and Shelter have shone a light on this loophole. I hope the Government takes heed and acts to close the loophole before more affordable rural homes are lost.”

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