Press Release: 06 July 2022
Pocket outlines two-point plan to deliver 30,000 new affordable homes per year
- Average house prices are at record levels and the cost-of-living crisis means those trying to get onto the property ladder are seeing that ladder become further out of reach
- A new ‘small sites planning policy’ for those offering the majority of homes for sale at a maximum of 80% of market value could deliver 30,000 extra affordable homes per year
- An exemption for affordable housing from the proposed Infrastructure Levy can effectively put more keys in the hands of first-time buyers in more parts of the UK
Innovative affordable housing developer, Pocket Living, who pioneered the model of discount to market housing for sale has outlined a simple two-point plan which could deliver up to 30,000 new additional affordable homes per year.
With inflation now reaching levels not seen since the early 1980s, thereby making homeownership even more unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of hard-working people across the country, Pocket has once again outlined an approach designed to improve housing choice and opportunity in the midst of the greatest cost-of-living crisis since the 1950s.
With average house prices now at record levels, and with rapidly rising prices, those trying to get onto the property ladder are seeing that ladder become further out of reach. Yet, current government policy is not helping and needs to be changed in order to see more people benefit from homeownership opportunities within their local areas.
The Pocket approach to tackling this is based around two simple national policy changes. The first change would see the creation of a more permissive planning environment, without eroding standards, through a new ‘small sites planning policy’ for those developing small sites which offer the majority of homes for sale at a maximum of 80% of market value.
As a result, if their sites meet certain criteria, then SME developers should benefit from a presumption in favour of development and be exempt from CIL or any future Infrastructure Levy. Modelling has shown that this could effectively price in first time buyers in a third of council areas where homeownership is currently out of reach and would be far more effective use of previously developed brownfield land, close to transport links and key amenities. This would also enable site-led affordable housing delivery to occur without the need for significant levels of public grant.
The second change relates to a potential exemption for affordable housing within the government’s proposed new Infrastructure Levy as part of the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill. For as currently drafted the Bill contains no automatic exemption for affordable housing, which leaves providers in a prohibitive position to bring their discount to market homes forward for sale.
By providing such an exemption the government can issue much-needed clarity on the issue at a national level, whilst ensuring that affordable housing providers, such as Pocket, can effectively put more keys in the hands of first-time buyers in more parts of the UK. Furthermore, by introducing a single, standard definition for affordable housing encompassing all types and tenures, there would be far greater consistency for providers when working with local authorities.
Marc Vlessing, Chief Executive Officer at Pocket Living, comments: “You can’t solve the issue of 40-year high levels of inflation impacting on would-be homeowners by re-heating 40-year-old housing ideas such as Right to Buy. That simply won’t work and doesn’t benefit the hundreds of thousands of would-be property owners desperate to get onto the housing ladder, yet due to the explosion in basic living costs combined with still rises housing prices, find that ladder becoming further and further out of reach. The only way to address it is by being radical, imaginative, and bold in creating new solutions to address the current challenges we face, such as adopting our two-point plan around a small sites planning policy and Infrastructure Levy exemption which if combined could deliver 30,000 additional affordable homes per year.”
For more information, please contact:
Giles Barrie/Matthew Richards/Emily Smart/Andrew Johnson
About Pocket Living:
Pocket Living is an innovative housing developer, delivering well-designed, homes for Londoners. Since being established in 2005, Pocket has delivered over 1,000 homes across a range of tenures. Pocket currently has over 1,500 homes in its planning and construction pipeline.
For more information on Pocket, please visit our website or YouTube channel: