SFHA: Planning Bill proposals do not focus enough on increasing supply of affordable homes
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has responded to the Scottish Government’s planning consultation by calling for a major focus on increasing the supply of affordable homes.
The call comes following research that identified a huge need for affordable housing in Scotland.
The report, published in 2015 by the SFHA and other housing bodies, found that 60,000 new affordable homes were required over five years in order to meet outstanding need.
While the Scottish Government responded to this report by increasing funding and setting a target to build 50,000 affordable homes – 35,000 for social rent – over the lifetime of the current parliament, the SFHA said it believes that reform of the planning system provides a major opportunity to increase housing supply in the long-term.
The SFHA’s proposals to increase the delivery of affordable housing in Scotland include the setting of national and regional targets and to allow local authorities to transfer land at existing value in order to address the lack of affordable land that is available for housing development.
The SFHA also recommends that national or regional bodies should be set up to deliver infrastructure up front in order to unlock key sites.
Sarah Boyack, SFHA head of public affairs, said: “A key driver behind the Planning Review was the concern that Scotland wasn’t building enough houses and its remit was to find solutions to this major problem. The SFHA is concerned, however, that proposals for a new Planning Bill do not focus enough on delivering more quality affordable homes.
“We are proposing a number of actions that we believe will increase the delivery of affordable housing in Scotland, create jobs and meet outstanding. We look forward to engaging with the Scottish Government, and with politicians at Holyrood, as the bill goes through parliament.”