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Understand housing need to increase affordable homes, says independent review

01 May 2019

A new approach to understanding housing need would result in an increased and better quality output of affordable homes in Wales, the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply has said.

The review which has taken place over the last 12 months, featured input from Dr Roisin Willmott OBE FRTPI, Director of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Independent Review Of Affordable Housing Supply

Members of the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply, including Dr Roisin Willmott (third from left)

To better understand housing need, the review said that the Welsh Government should mandate local authorities to provide Local Housing Market Assessments (LHMAs) based on a consistent timetable, data and methodology across housing tenures.

It also concluded that the LHMAs should be refreshed every two years and rewritten every five years, and submitted to the Welsh Government.

Dr Roisin Willmott said: “Through our meetings, the panel was able to develop a view on how to make better use of existing resources in order to increase genuinely affordable housing output, enhance standards and improve value for money.

“Understanding housing need is a key part of this - it is a vital way of determining what should be built and where investment should be made. The panel agreed that the basis of good housing policy and decisions regarding affordable housing supply stems from the best possible data on housing need and demand.”

Among the review’s other recommendations were that

  • standards for all new-build affordable homes should be consolidated and simplified, concentrating on minimum space standards
  • a strategy should be developed to map out how Wales could further use off-site manufacturing and Modern Methods of Construction to deliver near zero carbon homes
  • all new affordable homes should be near-zero carbon from 2021

Chair of the panel was PwC senior partner Lynn Pamment. She said: “This review offers Wales a unique opportunity to make ground-breaking improvements to the supply and quality of affordable housing, recommending longer-term certainty for local authorities and housing associations, while balancing the continuing pressures on the public spending available to support house building. Importantly, it also offers flexibility and a greater level of self-determination for ambitious organisations.”

Welsh Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James thanked the panel for its recommendations. She said: “I will consider this report carefully as we look to build on our ambitions to dramatically increase affordable housing in Wales.”