Affordable housing – are we delivering?

Keynote speaker

  • Lyn Garner, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation; Senior Professional Lead for Housing Delivery, Greater London Authority; Chair, Future of London

Climate change, Brexit, changes to regulations and economic challenges – Lyn Garner is in no doubt we face challenges to the delivery of affordable housing. At the same time, demand for affordable rented housing is likely to increase.

“What will the government do about protecting those who are in privately rented properties?” she asked. Lyn added that we are likely to see a rise in eviction rates, with a strong possibility of a rise in homelessness.

On the development side, we are seeing continuing increases in construction costs; plateauing house values in the short term, and much higher borrowing costs in medium term.

With a degree of optimism, Lyn noted that London’s delivery is going quite well in the circumstances. But the public sector needs to step in and be better at supporting developers.

“This is is really about joint problem solving, coming together and really driving delivery,” she said. And the public sector is well placed to intervene.

“It is the time for public sector interventions when the market is challenging, whether it be government, regional government or local government, because we’re in it for the long term.”

Lyn Garner, LLDC

She highlighted maximising use of public land as a key way the public sector can assist with the delivery of affordable homes. But for that, there needs to be collaboration across the sector.

Inefficiencies in site allocation also need to be overcome. People from site allocations must work proactively with landowners to help development come forward, consolidating what’s required on the land and freeing up land for development.

“Using funds to invest in land that could be maximised for development,” she said. “Particularly where that land is income generating and can provide revenue in the short to medium term.”

Collaboration in public private sector partnerships has been done effectively across a number of areas. But there is more the public sector can to do be better partners for their private sector collaborators.

“Quite often we stand back from the developer and let them take their chances at planning, when we know very well what the planning committee thinks,” she said.

The sector must be proactive about joint problem solving and sit down with developers and have a really honest chat about what they need to do and help them get to solutions.

To view Lyn’s presentation slides click here. 

Affordable Housing: Overcoming crisis through collaboration is a cross-sector research and events programme that aims to make practical recommendations.

Contact Anna Odedun, Head of Knowledge, to get involved. Thanks to project sponsors Countryside, Montagu Evans, Pollard Thomas Edwards, Potter Raper and Trowers and Hamlins, and our conference sponsors Altair, Inner Circle Consulting and Big Society Capital.