Planning law changes raise industry fears

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THE chief executive of an affordable housing company has said there are dangers to relaxing planning laws.

Following the announcement yesterday that the coalition government intends to suspend the requirement for developers to build affordable homes within any new developments, Radian boss Lindsay Todd said he has concerns.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg rolled out a package of measures designed to boost the housing industry and stimulate growth.

In a bid to unblock the barriers to house-building at a time of pent-up demand, the package includes a promise to allow developers to renegotiate agreements with local councils so they need not build as many affordable homes for a temporary period.

Mr Todd said: ‘I think the effects of this are likely to be twofold.

‘If you take housing generally it might mean that schemes developers are putting forward where the burden of building affordable housing is making them unaffordable are able to go ahead.

‘So in that sense it might make big schemes more valuable.

‘But from our perspective as an affordable housing provider, it will mean some of the schemes that we are negotiating at the moment might not come our way.

‘So it will make life a little bit more difficult for us and we may see a lower number of affordable homes being built.

‘But the government may have plans to mitigate this, so what I hope will happen is some other plan is put in place.’

Radian provides affordable housing to around 18,000 affordable homes in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex, and Wiltshire.