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Planning for affordable housing

Shelter and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy held a Chatham House Rules round table discussion on planning for affordable housing on Friday 28th September 2007. It was attended by experts from across the housing and planning sectors including local authority planners, housing associations, voluntary organisations, developers, academics and researchers.

Co-hosts of the event

Scotland is facing increasing pressures on the availability of affordable housing. There is an urgent need to ensure a supply of good quality, low cost housing to meet a range of housing need, from social rented to low cost home ownership. Planning policy is a lynchpin in ensuring the delivery and retention of new affordable homes, and there are growing calls for a wide-ranging review of how current policy is achieving these goals.

There is widespread debate within planning circles and the affordable housing community about what changes can be made to planning to ensure affordable homes can be built. The Scottish Executive is currently examining the role that planning policy and guidance have in enabling affordable housing development as part of the remit for the Housing Support Task Force. A report from this event will be submitted to the Task Force and will appear here shortly.

Our discussion was opened up by a presentation from Bill Bruce of Scotia Homes which introduced a developer's perspective on the use of land for affordable housing. The roundtable discussion then examined a range of ways in which planning policy could be changed to enable more affordable housing to be built. The sort of questions we discussed included:

  • What definition of 'affordable' should we be using?
  • How do we assess the current planning guidance and policy on affordable housing?
  • What sort of affordable housing planning framework do we want to create?
  • How do we rate the alternative methods of getting more affordable homes from the planning system?