Guardian -the swap idea is not in the NPPF amendment today but is in conservative press briefings – expected in NPPG amendment due shortly.
Our main concern from today’s announcement is whether these Starter Homes will be built in addition to existing plans, or whether they will actually cannibalise planned affordable housing. The BBC are reporting that developers will be able to swap affordable housing for Starter Homes on their existing and future plans. Not only would this mean that many Starter Homes won’t be additional (they’ll just be instead of homes that would have been built anyway), but it also swaps a low rent or shared ownership home for a home costing up to £450,000 in London. That’s more than 10 times the average salary in London and even outside, it’s more than average house prices in almost every region.
This would be a massive shift. Instead of councils being able to negotiate genuinely affordable, low rent homes from developers – they would be able to build homes for sale, albeit ones with a discount.
In the most recent year with data (2010/11), the majority (62%) of affordable housing built was from these sorts of planning agreements with developers. If this new proposal simply swaps these low rent and shared ownership homes for much more expensive Starter Homes then people struggling with their housing costs will be worse off, not better.