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Negotiations and the delivery of affordable housing through the English planning system

Farthing, Stuart; Ashley, Katherine


Stuart Farthing

Katherine Ashley


Since 1988, housing associations - now called Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) - have been responsible for the bulk of the provision of new affordable housing in England. Throughout the 1990s local authorities came to play an increasing role in providing public subsidy (Social Housing Grant) to RSLs for new development and by the end of the decade the major part of their expenditure for new housing was concentrated in the south of the country, reflecting pressure for additional affordable housing in these regions (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR), 2000). Local authorities also played a second role in the provision of new affordable housing through the exercise of their planning powers. Pioneering Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in Britain in the 1980s had sought to negotiate planning agreements with developers to provide an element of low-cost housing on new private housing estates. These local initiatives were finally endorsed by a government circular in the early 1990s (Department of the Environment (DoE), 1991) which encouraged LPAs to adopt housing policies in their local development plans seeking an element of affordable housing as part of new developments. By 1993 it was clear that the majority of LPAs had policies in place, but there has been no published research on the delivery of affordable housing through the planning system since the mid 1990s. The DETR has recently signalled the renewed importance of the issue from central government's viewpoint, commissioning research projects on good practice and pointing to the rather variable performance of LPAs in relation to the delivery of affordable housing in the recent Green Paper (DETR, 2000). The present paper presents the findings of some recent research on the factors which have a bearing on the ability of an LPA to deliver affordable housing through this mechanism.


Farthing, S., & Ashley, K. (2002). Negotiations and the delivery of affordable housing through the English planning system. Planning Practice and Research, 17(1), 45-58.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 30, 2002
Journal Planning Practice and Research
Print ISSN 0269-7459
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 45-58
Keywords affordable housing, planning system
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Lead author. Article draws on three research projects in 1990s funded by the Housing Corporation and Housebuilders' Federation. Theoretical framework developed from national evaluation of land supply from Registered Social Landlords.

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