The National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF’s) affordable housing recommendations came under fire during a panel on ‘making BTR work for the social housing sector’ at this year’s Homes UK in London’s Olympia last Thursday.


Source: Shutterstock/Wally Stemberger

The panel, chaired by Property Week editor Liz Hamson, discussed how compatible affordable housing and business concerns were in light of the NPPF recommendation that 20% of properties in a BTR development should be priced at 80% of market value.

Debra Yudolph, partner at SAY Property Consulting, said different levels of government defined affordability differently. “From a developer’s perspective, it’s difficult to know when bidding on something what the expectation is, not only in terms of how much but also what type of affordable housing you’re expected to deliver,” she said.

Rebecca Lewis, investment manager at Morgan Sindall, agreed that the government’s affordable housing targets were problematic.

She said she would prefer an income- linked definition of affordable housing rather than the current definition of 80% of market value. “In Chelsea, 20% off market value is not going to be affordable to anybody,” she said.

Kush Rawal, residential investment director at Metropolitan Thames Valley, argued that these problems stemmed from local authorities misunderstanding what housebuilders and housing associations were trying to achieve.

“I’d say we’ve got an awful long way to go,” he said. “In a lot of areas where we’re working, the planning authorities aren’t really getting their heads around what we’re trying to deliver and how it can help meet that need,” he said.