Last year we were told that half a million new homes were needed each year to cope with demand and currently only a fifth of that was being built. Rumours of green field sites to be used and flood plains to cope with the demand. Then the flooding started and flood plain building took a knock and so did the possibility of more social housing.
This week we here the government has an idea to knock down all the crummy estates put up since the second world war to enable social turnaround, are they throwing these ideas out because they are good, or are needed, or are the releasing a torrent of unfunded ideas because of a useless opposition?
For decades “affordable housing” meant exactly what it said on the tin – homes that were affordable, even to those on low incomes. Prior to 2010 traditional affordable homes, whether council housing or housing association properties, stayed true to the adage that their purpose was to provide an affordable place to live for even the less well off. Affordable housing was, in short, affordable.
No more. One of the most worrying proposals in the government’s recently announced planning reforms is a fundamental redefinition of affordable housing. Under the plans, the increasingly catch-all term “affordable housing” would stretch to include even properties that are affordable only to people on some of the highest incomes, the top 1%.
There is, of course, no problem with housing products aimed at those for whom market housing is beyond their means, but who do not qualify for traditional affordable housing. There are products available to aid people to get their home and they used to be called sub-prime mortgages, they have a new name today but essentially they are the same product.
As far as this new scheme for the removal of sink estates is concerned, will we be getting any further details like what to replace them with, where will the locals be resident while the alterations take place and where will the money come from to finance the project.
David Cameron will make a speech today, will we get any answers to these questions?