The British Property Federation has today revealed its grave concerns that new government definitions of affordable housing will damage and reduce the overall supply

This follows yesterday’s Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3), unveiled by housing minister Yvette Cooper. The government has opted to secure affordable housing in perpetuity, which means it can never revert back to its true market value.

PPS3 states that affordable housing must include provisions for the home to be retained for future eligible households, or, if these restrictions are lifted, for any subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

The BPF said this was a regressive step because the definition leaves no room for property developers to be creative in providing affordable housing. It said developers have shown great innovation in adjusting to affordable housing requirements and are delivering huge amounts of subsidised housing without any grant at all.

Ian Fletcher, BPF director for residential policy, said: ‘At a time when the country desperately needs homes for those ineligible for social housing who cannot afford to buy, the government has decided to constrain flexibility, rather than encourage it.

‘This new guidance means the government may get more social housing from developer contributions, but will get less housing overall.’

On a separate issue, the BPF has welcomed Sir Rod Eddington’s call for a new independent planning commission to fast track the delivery of significant infrastructure projects vital to the economy. But it has urged the government to include large-scale development schemes in the proposals.

The BPF said large-scale transport or energy developments mirror the problems faced by large-scale regeneration schemes. It said it would be ‘logical’ for both types of projects to be included in the proposals to ensure marginal schemes, which are vital to urban renewal, are not abandoned due to unnecessary delays.