Affordable Housing

There are two distinct meanings of affordable housing, the 'common' understanding, and the offical usage version:
  1. Common Understanding - Affordable to someone on median income, to buy/rent and run at market prices ie low cost or reasonably priced housing.
  2. Official  Usage - Affordable as used in Government's Affordable Homes Programme  and supported in housing development plans.  It means houses provided at below market prices and subsidised by the UK taxpayer , ie social or shared ownership housing,  in one of the following categories:
  • social rented housing which is to be made available to households whose cannot afford housing at market prices
  • Intermediate rented housing - above social housing rents but below private rents; often provided by housing associations
  • Discounted sale housing
  • Shared equity housing with housing associations or other body
  • Shared ownership housing - purchaser may buy an initial share in the house whilst the rest is retained by the housing provider.  Further shares can be purchased at a later date.
Social housing (affordable housing) is run by Housing Associations.  Housing Associations are frequently sub-contracted by councils to manage their council/social housing waiting lists and housing obligations. Housing stock can be classed as :
  1. Emergency shelter
  2. Transitional housing
  3. Social rental housing
  4. Intermediate and Private rented
  5. Market housing - sold in accordance with economic maket conditions, includes low cost housing Low cost housing often is not included in the term 'affordable housing'.
Quote on 'affordable housing' from Vidhya Alakeson of the Resolution Foundation, who support people on low-median incomes - "affordable housing will not meet the needs of working families who are shut out of ownership. They will never qualify for an affordable home. Waiting lists stretch into the millions and the sector rightly prioritises the most vulnerable."  23 August 2012, The Spectator    


Local Development Framwork.   Every local authority now has to have a LDF.  This will consist of a core strategy and all other relevant documents down to a SHLAA and neighbourhood plans. The LDF is the key planning document now UDP's and RSS's have gone.  

Localism Bill 2011

Designed to move democratic power back from central government, to council's, communities and individuals.  Over time "central government has become too big, too interfering, too controlling and too bureaucratic. This has undermined local democracy and individual responsibility, and stifled innovation and enterprise within public services."  The Bill was enacted at the end of 2011, and major elements came into being from April 2012.

The Localism Bill includes five key measures that underpin the Coalition Government's approach to this decentralisation.

  • Community rights - enshrines the right of a community to bid for local assets that are important to them eg recreational space, local library, village shop.
  • Neighbourhood planning - the ability for a community to form a neighbourhood forum to spatially plan it's own locality, and for that to become part of local development plans (LDF's)
  • Social housing - the ability for local council's and housing associations to make more local decisions.
  • General power of competence- this gives local authorities the legal capacity to do anything an individual can do that isn't specifically prohibited eg a council can hold prayers before a meeting if it is agreed to do so,  but cannot raise taxes.
  • Empowering cities and other local areas - the ability for major cities to plan their own development and growth eg Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield.

Neighbourhood Plans

Introduced under the Localism Bill 2011, this gives local communities and Parish Council's the right to draw up their own spatial plan for their 'defined' neighbourhood.   A neighbourhood can be a Parish, or an area that sees itself as having 'common cause'.  The neighbourhood plan must have the local LDF as it's starting point, and once adopted will become part of the LDF. If a 'neighbourhood' does not have a parish council,  it can appoint a neighbourhood forum, of at least 21 people who live and work in an area, and who are representative of the local community.


Stands for Not In My Back Yard.  Derivative is 'nimbyism'.  A pejorative term, used to describe those who agree with a development that has social benefit, but oppose it happening in their locality as the personal costs to them are high; often calculated in terms of property value or aesthetics.  To be a NIMBY means the reasons for opposition are seen as illegitimate, irrational or selfish. Airports, power stations, wind farms, waste disposal sites, prisons are all examples of developments whose local opposition can attract the cry of NIMBY,  in order to close down reasonable debate on where the 'greatest good, and least harm' lies; and alleviate issues. Research studies, (eg Wolsink (1994), or Lober (1996)) have concluded that what is called nimbyism, is often not the self-interested opposition (ie personal cost) to a development, but genuine questioning of the supposed social benefits,eg opposition to wind farms, spoiling sites of natural beauty that attract tourism and well being. References Lober, DJ (1996) Why not here? The importance of context, process, and outcome on public attitudes towards the siting of waste facilities, Society and Natural Resources, 9 (4), 375-394 Wolsink, M (1994) Entanglements of interests and motives: assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on facility siting, Urban Studies, 6, 851-866


National Planning Policy Framework.   The Bill that is supposed to have simplified planning rules from 27th March 2012 for England.  Contains many principals on which planning is based,  including the central one of a presumption in favour of  sustainable development: although sustainability is not well defined: development = growth.  It also seeks to make planning a creative and collaborative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives.  Yet, it does not give local communities the same rights of appeal as developers have. Other principals include an aim to develop 'brownfield sites first'; although this is not a strict requirement.  It also aims to recognize the value of the natural environment and the role it plays in wellbeing;  and the role of the historic environment in giving a  sense of place : but neither seem strict requirements.   The NPPF also aims to improve design standards. The key area plan under the NPPF is the LDF.  Council's have one year, to April 2013 to come up with an agreed LDF. The draft NPPF which was put forward on 25 July 2011, cause a great deal of protest from organizations such at the National Trust, Woodland Trust, and Council for the Protection of Rural England.   The draft was called a developers charter, and a licence to concrete over our countryside.   Although the final document alleviated some concerns,  it still lacks conviction on a number of areas including protection for the environment, and what exactly the measures of sustainability are.   It is felt that the NPPF will give rise to many more appeals, and will not hasten the planning process - which was a central aim.

PAS Land

Protected areas of search.  Land that has been earmarked as 'maybe' being suitable for development in the long term.

Place-Making or Placemaking

Placemaking is the creation of social, connected, vital 'places', by and via the people who live and work in them.   It is based on principals of civil society and democracy where people in a locality come together to socialise, help each other, solve issues, and innovate with new ideas. The results of placemaking are distinctive cities, towns and villages were people are comfortable, and want to live and work.   They are places local people value and are proud of; thus the places are maintained, enhanced and adapted to changes in lifestyle.   This, in turn, improves wellbeing, grows the local economy and conserves the environment. The process of placemaking,  is very different to a central 'spatial' planning system, based on state policy.  Where local people are told what will happen, are merely asked to express a view at 'consultation' stage - a view which often carries little weight - and have no right of appeal against a planning decision. Areas of note for placemaking:  Bournville, Warwickshire;  Port Sunlight, Cheshire,   Saltaire, Yorkshire; Poundbury, Dorset.


Regional Spatial Strategies.   Introduced by a Labour Government in 2004, these were regional level planning strategies.  They were abolished by the Coalition Government in July 2010 as part of the Localism Bill.   None of the prepared RSSs ever made it through public consultation and examination.   Most attracted high levels of objection.  One problem was that being prepared by Regional Bodies they lacked democratic legitimacy or means for people to influence outcomes.  Another,  was the top down housing targets. An RSS was supposed to have planned for the following across regions: Housing Waste Transport Greenbelt Areas for regeneration Areas for infrastructure investment They were also designed to add regional specific policies. RSSs have been superseded by LDF's.  


Strategic housing land availability assessments.   This is a database of land that MIGHT be available for future development.  Land can be put on the database 1.  by landowners - it can be greenbelt land 2. by the council as landowners 3. by the planning office,  as land that could be available

Sustainable Development

Taken from the NPPF March 2012 Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations.  Covers economic, environmental and social goals, jointly. Development means growth It is supposed to mean, change for the better, not just the built environment.   But development is often taken to mean 'houses' !! This is the detailed defintion from the NPPF International and national bodies have set out broad principles of sustainable development. Resolution 42/187 of the United Nations General Assembly defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future set out five ‘guiding principles’ of sustainable development: living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.