Lessons learned elsewhere vital for new social housing contribution in Northern Ireland

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13/08/2014


Using planning obligations to get more affordable homes built could work well in Northern Ireland – but lessons must be learned from other parts of the UK and Ireland, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland (CIH NI).

Speaking after CIH NI’s seminar on developer contributions today (Wednesday 18 August), policy and public affairs officer Justin Cartwright said: “There is broad agreement in the industry that private developers have a vital and positive role to play in building more social homes. The Department for Social Development (DSD) proposes that an ‘affordable housing contribution’ should apply to all developments of five homes or more. There needs to be a standard, viable rate of contribution that will provide transparency and direction for the department and developers alike. The seminar heard that builders should not start with a ‘blank sheet’ at the negotiating table every time they start a new development of five homes.”

Housing professionals from across Northern Ireland came together this morning for the event which focused on lessons learned from England. Attendees included house-builders, housing associations and housing organisations, planners, academics and economists.

Justin Cartwright said there were benefits to the DSD’s team that will negotiate with developers being centralised, but added that it will need to be informed by local circumstances.

He said:  “Affordable housing is a mix between social rented homes and co-ownership housing. It’s vital we get the mix right in a development – there is a risk of too much co-ownership housing in areas of high housing need and vice versa. This should be informed by the needs of local people.

“In England, 56% of all new affordable homes have been achieved through planning obligations and developers also benefit because they have guaranteed sales to housing associations. It’s vital that we learn from the systems already in place in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.”

-ENDS-

For more information please contact Justin Cartwright, policy and public affairs officer at CIH Northern Ireland on 028 9077 8222, 07824 304 351 or justin.cartwright@cih.org

Notes to editors:

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse and growing membership of more than 22,000 people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. Further information is available at: www.cih.org

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