Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 80-81)



Christine Russell

  80. Can I ask you about the planning route to securing affordable housing? You have obviously done very well in Hammersmith & Fulham in persuading developers to make a contribution to affordable housing. Would you like to comment on whether or not you feel you already have sufficient powers, or whether you would like additional powers in order to be even more persuasive in your negotiations with developers?
  (Mr Pallace) The powers we have are broadly sufficient, provided our exceptions policy approach is supported and not attacked in government guidance. Because it is not widely operated, we sometimes find ourselves having to argue against proposals which may be helpful in other areas, for example, setting targets for affordable housing delivery at say 50 per cent or 60 per cent. We set a target of 100 per cent in our exceptions policy sites, so those targets undermine our approach to deliver affordable housing through that means.

  81. What target would you like to set throughout the borough on other sites, if you could legally set one?
  (Mr Pallace) We have taken an approach where we do not want to set a numerical target. We have the maximum reasonable proportion as the target written into our development plan, which has been very effective. We have started from 100 per cent in negotiations depending upon the planning context, and negotiated down from that. We have indicated that 65 per cent would be a benchmark monitoring target, because that is what we have achieved over a decade, but we do not want to set a target that becomes interpreted as a maximum by the market, which it would be.

  Chairman: I am afraid we have to cut you off because we are running out of time. Thank you for your evidence.

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