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Old August 6th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #101
spindrift
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Sub-letting council flats to be made illegal:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/...-5billion.html

In Hackney residents pay rent to someone who pays rent to someone who pays rent to someone who pays rent to the legitimate tenant.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #102
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The windows look like they have just been punched out...no frame, no finish, no delineation.....No greenery, no entrance to one front door...they'll just have bins in front of that lot, which will make the public turn its back to the front of the building because it will look more like a dumping yard....Planners....constantly failing the public..there was not thought in this design....a good starting point..but one that was never pushed through.....bad planners
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Old August 6th, 2011, 02:18 PM   #103
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Annamaria4711 you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about planners, yet don't seem to understand the profession. Town planners do have professional qualifications you talk about.They don't design the buildings themselves - they assess proposals brought before them, but can only do so under certain constraints such as planning policy. Planners have limited influence on design. In fact, the UK planning system isin't designed (forgive the pun) to be design led - it's land use and policy led. Design is incredibly uncatered for in the current planning system. Let's see what the current revamp will bring...

As for the redeveloped estate above, all your points are valid. The planning application should have questioned the issues you raise. Hell, I'd bet in 20years time they will be gloomy back alleys darkened by the materials used, with cars squeezed along the street in between wheelie bins. But that's the UK way of building isin't it - we'll embrace shared streets, but then assume realistic parking provision isin't needed and naievely assume people won't dump their cars on the shared space, we'll build cheap shite but call it 'contemporary', and we'll build them too small but call them an 'efficient use of space', we won't have any private defensible space because future residents need a dose of continental style communal space.

Rant over
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Old August 7th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #104
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hey Niterider, you are right I do have a chip on my shoulder re planners... but from experience....I used to work for one of UK largest HAs, I have seen the so called architects and planners at work.....and as per your 2nd para....playing word games and mgmt social spin, rather than being committed to work towards a communal benefit..... I have seen their so called qualification and how it is passed too....you don't need a high % to pass.....
I am sorry to be so abrasive and un yielding with town planners, but like you say, they may be curtailed with what they can and cannot do..yet they do not question things too much and ask for developers or others to try harder...because that will only mean more work for them..... I do dislike them with a vengance ....

I shall give you an example Niterider.....
Local planning officer, responsible for a development near where I live.....I am lobbying for a number of items...I take photographs to the meeting to make my point.....The planner there did not know the sequence of the photographs...because SHE HAD NEVER been to the site....!!!! hang on...you are giving permissions and rights to a developer and you have never visited the site let alone intermittent visits during the development.....
In my early years, I worked as an exhibition account mgr... I would sale expo space to companies..it was imperative of me to know every inch of that expo space... and not just the expo space itself, but what was around it, hotels, transport, restaurants.....

Yes I do have a chip on my shoulder about town planners as the ones I have met and incountered have been lazy to the detrament of the community .....
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Old August 7th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annamaria4711 View Post
hey Niterider, you are right I do have a chip on my shoulder re planners... but from experience....I used to work for one of UK largest HAs, I have seen the so called architects and planners at work.....and as per your 2nd para....playing word games and mgmt social spin, rather than being committed to work towards a communal benefit..... I have seen their so called qualification and how it is passed too....you don't need a high % to pass.....
I am sorry to be so abrasive and un yielding with town planners, but like you say, they may be curtailed with what they can and cannot do..yet they do not question things too much and ask for developers or others to try harder...because that will only mean more work for them..... I do dislike them with a vengance ....

I shall give you an example Niterider.....
Local planning officer, responsible for a development near where I live.....I am lobbying for a number of items...I take photographs to the meeting to make my point.....The planner there did not know the sequence of the photographs...because SHE HAD NEVER been to the site....!!!! hang on...you are giving permissions and rights to a developer and you have never visited the site let alone intermittent visits during the development.....
In my early years, I worked as an exhibition account mgr... I would sale expo space to companies..it was imperative of me to know every inch of that expo space... and not just the expo space itself, but what was around it, hotels, transport, restaurants.....

Yes I do have a chip on my shoulder about town planners as the ones I have met and incountered have been lazy to the detrament of the community .....
Fair enough I can definitely empathise with you. As for 'so called qualifications' I do take note. As a planner I have a respected science degree, in addition to then undertaking a BA specialising in planning. I wouldn't say it's piss easy to obtain. I later obtained an MA specialising in planning further and let me tell you it was definitely challenging time consuming and wide-ranging, although it focused too much on academic issues than realistic issues. I just think labelling all planners as X with useless degrees is a bit insulting, just like I wouldn't say all modern architects have mickey-mouse degrees and no common sense.

Your example is sadly all too common. I encounter people like that daily, but that's local government for you - people who don't pull their weight or perform are never under any realistic threat of loosing their job or being accountable. Good planners do exist, but I suspect you'd be surprised at how much other factors influence the system - budgets, threats from developers to pull out etc who try to effectively blackmail planning departments and meddling politicians who f*ck up the best areas of a proposal, resulting in a half-arsed scheme.

You can't win in that job - internally policians and incompetent public officials and other council colleagues mess things up and externally the public view you as enemy number 1! Like the example you just gave, with all due respect, people like you who are approaching a scheme from one perspective will see their side of the story, not being privvy to the other issues the planners have to balance. If planning is to improve, and schemes like above are to succeed, the profession needs stronger powers in some areas, but planning departments need much more responsibility and accountability. Planners should be accountable for the decisions they make. As I said earlier, the current government is actually making such changes with less top-down interference and more accountability at the local level....like all things in the UK, I suspect it will be a half-arsed attempt in the end mediocrity will reign supreme ....To be honest, I've had enough of it after a few years and am preparing to move abroad where the prospects, quality and pay are superior and the work more interesting..... my 2 cents

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Old August 9th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #106
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Hi Niterider, its a shame that the UK and your profession will be loosing someone like you, who has obviously worked very hard and steadfastly towards your knowledge, expertise and professional skills base..it is a shame.
Councils are beyond approach, because as you say, once in...people are in there for life.... Another example for the lovely Tower Hamlets, I had a planning officer visit my home when I was doing some modification, the guy was useless, i late find out that he had been moved from another dept because he was useless, he gave me the wrong advise as to where to place the smoke detector...he was advising me to place it in my lobby...which has 45mins fire retardant walls...where as I wanted it in my kitchen living room area...he was insistent because that's what the rule book said it should be......

Anyway, I am genuinely sorry to hear that the UK will eventually loose a dedicated person such as you..... The public should become more involved in their local community......
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Old November 21st, 2011, 03:45 AM   #107
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http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...sing-sector.do

Quote:
Bid to kick-start housing sector
21 Nov 2011

A £400 million fund to kick-start housebuilding is set to be announced as part of Government plans to solve Britain's housing crisis.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will pledge to break the "current cycle in which lenders won't lend, builders can't build and buyers can't buy" when they unveil the Government's housing strategy.

That will mean people who "play by the rules" can "expect to own a decent home of their own", they insist.

The £400 million Get Britain Building fund will target housebuilding schemes that have stalled through a lack of development finance. It is set to "unlock" the construction of up to 16,000 homes and around 3,200 of those would be affordable properties, Downing Street said.

The cash injection would also support up to 32,000 jobs, according to officials.

It comes on top of a £500 million Growing Places Fund for development announced earlier this month, No 10 said.

The Laying the Foundations: a housing strategy for England report is also expected to set out details on a range of other policies to revive the industry and solve the homes shortage, including allowing first-time buyers to get bigger mortgages and boosting right-to-buy council home discounts.

Measures to end the "national scandal" of homes lying empty and to improve the quality of housing for older people will also be announced. And the strategy will set out plans to make high earners living in social housing pay market rates, as well as guidelines for local authorities over large scale developments.

Taxpayers will underwrite hundreds of millions of pounds of mortgages under the strategy, it was later reported. The Government will carry the risk of some lending on newly-built homes, according to the Independent, in the hope to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder by allowing deposits to drop from 20% to as little as 5%.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Full details of the Government's ambitious Housing Strategy - which will tackle the housing shortage, boost the economy, create jobs and give people the opportunity to get on the housing ladder, will be published tomorrow."
I'm looking forward to seeing the detail of this. The housing market really needs a shake-up, as I've recently been arguing in the main London thread (for my own reference: 1 2 3 4)
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Old November 21st, 2011, 12:24 PM   #108
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http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion...s-6265324.html

Mary Ann Sieghart:

Lower house prices are just what the country needs Ministers privately hope that prices will fall, but are terrified of saying so in public

MARY ANN SIEGHART MONDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2011

All I want is a room somewhere ..." Young people all over Britain are echoing Eliza Doolittle's lament. If it isn't bad enough that more than a million of them are unemployed, they're also finding it extortionate to rent and almost impossible to buy a home. So the Government's long-awaited housing strategy, to be unveiled today,had better be good.

Both parties in the Coalition are sensitive about creating a "lost generation" of young people who've worked hard through school and college and still can't find a job or a home at the end of it. Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith are working closely on youth unemployment. And Clegg joins David Cameron today to launch the housing initiative.

It is based on the premise that there's currently a constraint both on the supply of homes and the demand for them. At least there's plenty of demand, but potential buyers can't afford the deposit needed to get a mortgage. The strategy aims both to increase the supply – by getting more homes built and bringing empty ones back into use – and to help buyers who can't lean on their parents to raise a deposit.

It starts at the bottom. Ministers have been aghast to discover the extent of fraud and abuse in council housing – costing the taxpayer between £5bn and £10bn a year, and using up homes that could be offered to people in need. Astonishingly, subletting a council property is not even a criminal offence. And people who already own a home are still allowed to apply for council housing. So they can pay a subsidised rent and rent out their own home at commercial rates, or live at home and let out their council property. Today's strategy will propose making subletting illegal and preventing home-owners from renting council houses.

It will also, for new tenants, offer shorter tenures. At the moment, you can be given a council house when you are young, hold on to it for the rest of your life, whatever your circumstances, and even hand it on to your children. It's one of the few examples of the hereditary principle outside the House of Lords. The Government will recommend that tenants' needs are periodically reassessed and if they're earning more money or need fewer bedrooms, they should either move out or pay more to stay. Expect lots of tabloid stories about council tenants with six-figure salaries: the bed-blockers of our day.

We've already heard about the bigger discounts council tenants will get if they want to buy their homes. But ministers are also planning to give some away for free. There are about 750,000 empty homes in England – whole streets of boarded-up houses in some northern cities. Rather than pull them down and redevelop, ministers want to hand over the keys to people who undertake to refurbish them. Social enterprises will be encouraged to train homeless people so that they can do up a place in which to live and make themselves more employable at the same time. The Government has earmarked more than £100m to bring empty homes into use.

As well as a £400m Get Britain Building fund to drive housebuilders to develop their existing land banks, government departments have been asked to find public land that could be used for housebuilding. Just five departments have between them come up with enough land almost to meet the 100,000-home target. With land from other departments and from quangos such as Royal Mail and Network Rail, the Government hopes to end up with about 150,000 new homes. Developers won't have to pay for the land until they have built and sold, or rented, the properties, which should help to get work started now, when the economy badly needs the boost.

Ministers also hope that innovative tax changes will encourage institutional investors like pension funds to put money into the private rental market. At the moment, only 1 per cent of the UK's private residential stock is owned by institutions, compared with 10-15 per cent in most European countries. It would be good to create a reliable private rented sector, with responsible landlords, for the 14 per cent of us who genuinely want to rent.

But that still leaves 86 per cent who prefer to buy. And the hurdles are huge. According to the Resolution Foundation, the average low- to middle-income household putting aside 5 per cent of their disposable income each year would have taken 31 years to save a deposit in 2010, up from just eight years in 1983. In London, it would be 54 years.

The Government is desperate to see deposits come back down to 5 or 10 per cent, rather than the 20 per cent currently demanded by mortgage providers. Lenders, though, are reluctant to take that risk, as it would take just a small fall in house prices to make the security of the property worth less than the value of the loan. They want the reassurance of a government guarantee.

That's what's going to be announced today. Although this could get the housing market moving again faster than any other measure, it is also fraught with risk. After all, it was sub-prime mortgages that caused the financial crisis in the first place. At a time when job insecurity has never been higher, and defaults more likely, this is dangerous territory for the Government. When Gordon Brown mooted a state-backed mortgage scheme in 2008, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, reportedly threatened to resign.

What would help most of all would be a sustained fall in house prices. Both buying and renting would become more affordable. And it would barely affect existing home-owners unless they have bought very recently and are in danger of negative equity. For all other owner-occupiers, it makes trading up cheaper and trading down less lucrative. But moving to a house of equivalent value is the same whatever your property is worth.

Ministers privately hope that the increased supply they are creating will bring prices down. But they are terrified of coming out publicly for fear of what the Daily Mail would say. In this, as in so many other areas though, the Mail has got it wrong. Most owner-occupiers these days have children or grandchildren. They worry about the young's chances of ever getting on the housing ladder. And they don't particularly fancy remortgaging their own house to pay for the next generation's deposits.

The one thing missing from today's housing strategy will be an outright acknowledgment that lower house prices would be a good thing. It's still too much of a political taboo. But ministers know that it's exactly what the younger generation need. So do prospective buyers and their parents. In the immortal words of Eliza: "Wouldn't it be loverly?
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Old November 21st, 2011, 02:45 PM   #109
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It has some good stuff but also the not so good, for example encouraging 95% mortgages smacks of a government wishing to inflate the housing bubble for short-term political gain. There is nothing good long-term about that imo, unless the ratio between income and mortgage is small. I'd also like to see some carrots with that stick regarding council housing (e.g. I would like any capital gained from people buying their council home to be reinvested into new social housing only, not to cover debts or other short-term issues that local authority's have).

I'm also interested in how they'll deal with the asymmetry between location of empty homes and local demand.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 02:54 PM   #110
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I cant see the point of the scheme myself other than to keep property prices propped up. Personally, I think if people cant afford to buy the house they want they tought luck. They should save up or reduce their expectations. The government certainly shouldnt be subsiding their purchases with taxpayer money. If prices really are unaffordable then this will have the opposite effect.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 03:16 PM   #111
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I agree that taking on debt and trying to reduce deposit requirements is a mistake. Dealing with supply issues however is the right thing, especially empty homes and freeing up unused land held by public institutions (it's the tip of the iceberg though). The only thing is I don't think a national response is required - it's regional issues which require regional solutions imo. Some parts of the country have an oversupply of housing stock.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 03:23 PM   #112
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15810966

Quote:
Housing: David Cameron vows to 'get Britain building'

First-time buyers of new homes will be able to borrow up to 95% of their value as part of plans David Cameron says will help get "Britain building again".

The mortgage indemnity scheme, in which government will underwrite part of the risk, could help up to 100,000 people.

The prime minister said it was part of a wider strategy to deal with an acute shortage of affordable homes and stalled housing projects in England.

Labour said it was "small beer" and did not compensate for earlier cuts.

Building more homes is one of the government's economic priorities, with the number of new ones being built at its lowest level since World War II, and with rents and prices remaining high while mortgage lending is restricted.

At the heart of the coalition' s approach is a mortgage indemnity scheme which will enable first-time buyers and others to borrow up to 95% of the value of newly built homes, supported by government guarantees.

Addressing the CBI's annual conference in London, Mr Cameron said it was not his aim to create "another borrowing boom" but to help the many people who could not afford huge deposits needed to buy properties.

"When first-time buyers on a good salary cannot get a reasonable mortgage, the whole market grinds to a halt," he said. "And that ricochets around the economy, affecting builders, retailers, plumbers - all the people that depend on a housing market that is moving."

"If we don't do something like this we are not going to get this vital market moving... We will restart the housing market and get Britain building again."

Ministers will also intervene to support building projects which have been approved but delayed by funding problems.

A "Get Britain Building Fund" will see developers compete for £400m in funding to take forward "shovel-ready" projects which meet the right criteria, among them a commitment to affordable homes.

This initiative will begin in July and aims to lead to 16,000 new homes being built, providing work for 32,000 people.

It is hoped that about 450,000 mainly affordable homes will be built by 2015, many of them on publicly-owned brownfield sites, although the government is not setting any specific targets.

Other parts of the strategy include empty properties being brought back into residential use and new providers being encouraged to enter the social housing market.

To help potential buyers, tenants of social housing are to get the right to buy their home - a hallmark of the Thatcher government in the 1980s - for as little as half the market price.

The money will then be used to build more affordable housing, with ministers saying they will build a new home for every home sold off in this way.

The House Builders Federation said the lack of mortgage availability since the 2008 banking crisis had been "the biggest constraint" on new homes and the indemnity scheme would help to address this.

"In recent years, many people have been unable to realise their dreams of buying a home because of the huge deposits required by lenders," its executive chairman Stewart Baseley said.

"This scheme will be allow people to buy their new home on realistic terms and help, in particular, hard-pressed first time buyers."

But Labour said the government's "mismanagement" of the economy was holding back housebuilding.

"I am afraid it is rather small beer in its scale," shadow chancellor Ed Balls said. "It is a £400m boost, but George Osborne last year announced a £4bn cut in housing spending."

The opposition have urged ministers to levy a £2bn tax on bank bonuses to pay for 25,000 new homes and 100,000 new construction jobs for young people, as part of their five-point plan for boosting growth.

Single mum Kylie Bennett has recently split up with her partner and urgently needs somewhere to live
"I think most people would say that with bank bonuses still very high repeating that tax for £2bn and using it in that way would be a much better way to spend the money and a good boost to jobs and housing."

Just 121,200 new homes were made available in 2010-11, 6% fewer than the previous year.

Although the decline was not as sharp as in the previous year when the number of new builds and conversions fell by 23%, Labour say the government has failed to get a grip on the problem in its first year in power, and the situation has got worse in some parts of the country.

Other measures in the housing strategy include a pledge to consult on 'Pay to Stay' proposals where social tenants on high salaries will pay up to market rents if they want to continue living in taxpayer-subsidised homes.

Ministers also say there will be tougher action to tackle "the outrage" of 50,000 unlawfully occupied social homes.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 03:28 PM   #113
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Here's the government press release (CLG):
http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2033724

Quote:
New strategy to deliver homes and strengthen the economy
Published 21 November 2011

An ambitious new strategy to tackle the housing shortage, boost the economy, create jobs and give people the opportunity to get on the housing ladder was announced today (21 November 2011) by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said the Government has inherited a broken housing market and a devastating collapse in construction from the era of top down targets, but new plans will give the housing market a shot in the arm by boosting supply, easing financial pressures and helping with demand. The action we take will drive up the level of housebuilding, ensure we are helping new home owners and boost consumer confidence.

The Strategy will break the current cycle in which lenders won't lend, builders can't build and buyers can't buy. We'll be making it easier for people to secure mortgages on new homes, help people get on the property ladder, address unfairness in social housing and ensure homes that have been left empty for years are lived in once again.

Help for home buyers

At the heart of the strategy is a new build indemnity scheme that will give a helping hand for up to 100,000 prospective buyers who are currently frozen out of the housing market because of the need for large deposits.

Under the proposals, homebuyers will be able to secure loans on newly built homes - the bedrock of the first time buyer market - with only a five per cent deposit.

The Government and housebuilders will help provide security for the loan, so if the house is then sold for less than the outstanding mortgage total the lender will be able to recover its loss.

Through the scheme lenders will be encouraged to offer mortgages with smaller deposits, increasing demand for new homes and giving a welcome boost to the housing market.

The Government will also consult shortly on proposals to increase discounts under the Right to Buy, giving social tenants the opportunity to buy the homes they live in. The discount will be improved dramatically and will be up to half the value of the home, making home ownership ever more achievable.

For the first time, the receipts from additional Right to Buy sales will be used to support the funding of new affordable homes for rent on a 'one for one' basis, which is expected to deliver up to 100,000 new homes and support 200,000 jobs.

Help for housebuilders

Assistance for people buying homes will be matched by support for the people who build them, from the largest housebuilder to people who want to build their own homes.

Affordable housing providers are in line to share almost £1.8bn cash to develop new affordable homes. The first £1bn worth of contracts under the Affordable Homes Programme have just been confirmed, putting the Government on track to deliver up to 170,000 new affordable homes across the country over the next four years.

The Government will give more support for local areas that want to deliver new, larger-scale developments that meet the needs of their growing communities. A new prospectus will be published shortly inviting councils and communities to identify opportunities for locally planned large scale development, which will take advantage of streamlined planning processes, giving communities a stronger say and developers greater certainty.

The new plots could vary in size, from a small expansion of a few hundred homes through to a new market town with up to 10,000 homes. Viable schemes that are sustainable and have strong local support will be given financial assistance to get the work going, and will be prioritised for future infrastructure spending.

Where there are existing building sites that have stalled, a £400m Get Britain Building funding pot will enable housebuilders to restart construction, helping to deliver up to 16,000 new homes on sites that already have planning permission, but have been shut down because of economic conditions.

The new support on offer will also benefit self builders, an industry often assumed to be out of reach for some, but one that is increasingly popular and already worth £3.6 billion for the national economy. We are announcing £30 million additional funding to support provision of short term project finance on a repayable basis.

Councils will receive support to work with local people and bring forward plans for larger custom-built housing projects, similar to the successful project in Almere in the Netherlands.

All these measures will be supported through the New Homes Bonus, which will ensure that those areas which are growing have the resources to meet the needs of their new residents and existing communities.

Improving fairness in social housing

Efforts to boost the supply of new homes and help homebuyers will be matched by improving fairness for those living in social homes.

Measures in the strategy will support the radical programme of reform to the system for social housing that is already underway. The Government will consult on 'Pay to Stay' proposals. This will mean that those social tenants on high salaries, such as household incomes of over £100,000 a year, will pay up to market rents if they want to continue living in taxpayer-subsidised homes.

Councils will be given new powers to reject applications for social housing from people who own a perfectly acceptable home of their own. And there will be stronger measures to help tackle the outrage of 50,000 unlawfully-occupied social homes - with a more detailed consultation to be published later this year.

The overly bureaucratic and complex model of council housing finance will be scrapped too so councils can manage their social housing stock more effectively.

Instead of the revenue generated from social housing being handed over to central Government and redistributed, councils will be able to keep their own receipts, giving them freedom to maintain their housing stock with more efficiency and transparency, in a way that meets local needs.

Support for the private rented sector

The Strategy will also support greater investment in the private rented sector, a sector which accounts for around 16 per cent of all households.
Large scale investment will be driven through changes to the tax rules affecting bulk purchases of buy-to-let homes, as well as through measures to encourage the growth of Real Estate Investment Trusts - the globally recognised model for real estate investment that provides low cost access to capital.

An independent review will also consider whether there are barriers to greater large-scale investment in rented housing.

Action on empty homes

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said that the fact that for years so little has been done to bring the nation's growing number of empty homes back into use is a "national scandal". Tackling the 700,000 empty homes across the country is a top priority in the strategy, and a key feature in the drive to increase the provision of affordable housing.

Housing Associations and councils will be able to apply for part of £100m of Government funding to bring empty homes that blight neighbourhoods back into use. The money will be used for innovative housing schemes that will ensure empty properties that ruin neighbourhoods are lived in once again, communities are regenerated and at the same time more affordable housing is provided. Government is also announcing £50 million of further funding to tackle some of the worst concentrations of empty homes.

The schemes will be backed by cash rewards through the New Homes Bonus for councils bringing empty homes back into use, and many schemes will also have wider benefits such as providing excellent training opportunities for local people.

The Government is also consulting on plans to allow councils local discretion to introduce a council tax premium on homes in their area that have been empty for more than two years, to provide a stronger incentive for empty homes owners to bring them back into use.

Supporting older people to live independently

The Strategy also focuses on the needs of older people and includes a deal to improve the quality and choice of housing available for older people, which aims to help them to stay independent for longer.

Nearly a third of all homes are occupied by the elderly, and nearly two thirds of the projected increase in the number of households over the next twenty years will be headed by someone aged 65 or over.

So a package of measures will help the elderly adapt their homes, or move into alternative housing, to meet their changing needs. As part of this package the Government will work to develop simple and attractive financial products that help older home owners safely release equity that they can then use to maintain or adapt their homes.

Other reforms set out in the strategy include:

transferring housing and planning powers from central government to councils and local people, so that they can shape development in their areas
replacing top down targets with powerful cash incentives through the New Homes Bonus, so instead of simply feeling the strain that new building projects place on existing services, communities have a reason to support new development
supporting private sector growth by reducing regulation and other burdens on house-builders
accelerating the release of public sector land with capacity to build up to 100,000 new homes by 2015, and support up to 200,000 construction and related jobs during development.

Notes to editors

Using previously-developed land owned by the public sector to deliver new homes could support as many as 200,000 construction and related jobs, 50,000 in every year of the spending review period.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 03:46 PM   #114
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And here's the white paper itself (pdf)
http://www.communities.gov.uk/docume...df/2033676.pdf
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Old November 21st, 2011, 04:54 PM   #115
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The windows look like they have just been punched out...no frame, no finish, no delineation.....No greenery, no entrance to one front door...they'll just have bins in front of that lot, which will make the public turn its back to the front of the building because it will look more like a dumping yard....Planners....constantly failing the public..there was not thought in this design....a good starting point..but one that was never pushed through.....bad planners
what on earth are you talking about.. you are so wrong its not even funny!
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Old November 21st, 2011, 06:12 PM   #116
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Well, it's a development of townhouses. Let me just do a google image search for some new townhouses in Canada - I'll pick a big city where space is at a premium and land is expensive (Toronto) so it's not too unfair a comparison with London.







These are completely normal developments in Canada. This is what new housing looks like, because it's developed to appeal to buyers, although across Canada as a whole, as today's white paper on the English housing sector points out, around 50% of new homes are self-built - and those are usually traditionally styled timber-frame houses.

If we had a functional housing market in the UK these are the sort of townhouses we'd be getting - the sort that people actually want to live in.

Building new council estates rather than private and mixed developments means there's no incentive to build the sort of homes that people want and no real incentive to build attractive housing (though the local authority's intentions are no doubt good).

It's also a symptom of the disastrous situation where artificially inflated house prices and a culture of welfare dependency push ever more people into social housing, and an ever greater proportion of our housing stock is aimed at the bottom of the market, trying to give people a minimal level of accommodation rather than the type of accommodation they'd actually like, so that average house sizes shrink and the average quality of the housing stock reduces.

Do you really think those little brick boxes are good enough for a great city like London? I don't.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 06:25 PM   #117
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Do you really think those little brick boxes are good enough for a great city like London? I don't.
more generous minimum space standards then? Oh yes the government axed that idea
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Old November 21st, 2011, 06:26 PM   #118
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I cant see the point of the scheme myself other than to keep property prices propped up. Personally, I think if people cant afford to buy the house they want they tought luck. They should save up or reduce their expectations. The government certainly shouldnt be subsiding their purchases with taxpayer money. If prices really are unaffordable then this will have the opposite effect.
and ban international buyers from the housing market? Would be a start.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 07:01 PM   #119
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The windows look like they have just been punched out...no frame, no finish, no delineation.....No greenery, no entrance to one front door...they'll just have bins in front of that lot, which will make the public turn its back to the front of the building because it will look more like a dumping yard....Planners....constantly failing the public..there was not thought in this design....a good starting point..but one that was never pushed through.....bad planners
like there are not enough houses in London with 'greenery' and unused front gardens, unless the sole purpose of a front garden is to store a bulging dustbin ready for landfill

The clear emphasis here is on the street, indicating it as a communal shared area, maybe for children playing there. The suburban sprawl style showed in Canada by contrast has no clarity, no one is going to use that green space, likewise no one will be using the 'street' either.

I guess they do look a bit pokey, why not build an extra storey? Or have a roof terrace? I guess those are more a matter of profit margin and market positioning.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 07:29 PM   #120
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Okay well I've read the white paper now and I'm watching some of the debate in the Commons right now. I think most of the measures look excellent, exactly the sort of thing that's needed, but I share kerouac1848's unease at the indemnity scheme. An interesting piece in City AM which argues the case against it:

http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analy...ub-prime-loans

Quote:
Let’s not go back to sub-prime loans
Monday 21st November 2011, 4:34am
EDITOR’S LETTER
ALLISTER HEATH

THERE are two ways one can address a problem caused by faulty policies: by tackling its root causes – or by addressing some of its manifestations, and risk creating more issues thanks to the law of unintended consequences which plagues all government actions. Regrettably, when it comes to house prices, the government is largely going for the second option, albeit with a small nod towards the first. There are massive problems in the housing market – but today’s announcement that the government is going to partly underwrite mortgages for first time buyers and move some risk onto taxpayers is a terrible, short-sighted blunder.

Developers will also be able to bid for public money to finish stalled developments: this implies yet more corporatism to fund projects nobody really wants. Have we all forgotten the sub-prime crisis in the US? Over there, politicians concerned that many poor people couldn’t afford homes forced and bribed lenders to lower credit standards and extend mortgages to those who couldn’t afford them. In the short-term, this boosted home-ownership; but it all ended in tears. It is good to care about the poor and young people who can’t get onto the housing ladder; but it is bad to give people false hope, to create moral hazard or to privatise gains and socialise losses in the housing market.

The root cause of the problem is that far too few homes of the right kind have been built in the right places in recent decades. This was caused by ridiculous command and control regulations and planning procedures inherited from the post-war Labour government of the 1940s. This artificial scarcity has pushed up house prices – though they are now falling at an accelerating rate and are already down by 20-30 per cent in real terms across the UK. Prices fell by £7,528 (or 3.1 per cent) last month, the largest cash fall since December 2007 and third largest percentage fall on record, Rightmove calculates.

The government wants to offer banks a guarantee to make sure that five per cent deposits once again become the norm, rather than the 17 per cent currently demanded of borrowers on average. It is true that deposits are often crippling, though in part this is merely a return to a more sensible way of lending money. The problem during the bubble was that stupid banks lent 95 per cent, 100 per cent and even 125 per cent of a home’s value. That was fine when everybody was able to meet mortgage payments and house prices kept going up. But when the music stopped and prices collapsed, banks repossessed homes but were left with huge losses. In bad times, deposits need to be large to protect the financial system; small deposits only work if everybody is sure that house prices are under-valued and bound to surge. The government’s policies will cost the taxpayer dear.

We have just come out of a major crisis caused by too much money being lent too cheaply to too many people who couldn’t afford it, underwritten by the state. Let’s not do this again. A better solution is for the private sector to be allowed to build far more homes. But solvent buyers also need to learn some patience – it should be normal to have to scrimp and save for several years before one can afford a deposit. And the government needs to accept that not everybody will be able to own their own home – and that trying to boost credit at any cost is a recipe for disaster.
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more generous minimum space standards then? Oh yes the government axed that idea
My point was that if house builders were properly incentivized to respond to consumer aspirations, including when building social housing, then they'd be building far bigger homes anyway. But yes, I'm in favour of minimum space standards for social housing.
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