Affordable Housing - a Welsh Joke!

There were questions to the Housing Minister in the Assembly yesterday.

As usual when questions about housing arise in the Assembly or in other government institution from Community Councils to the European Parliament, the term affordable housing was uttered.

Affordable Housing is a term that makes my skin crawl every time that I hear it. Mainly because affordable housing is always an add- on to every housing development proposed, rather than the core of the planning application.

Jocelyn Davies mentioned that Rural Development Enablers had ensured that a massive 110 affordable homes had been built in Wales as a result of their efforts last year – Wow!

A company wants to build 100 houses in Llanbethma 10% of which will be affordable. WTF?

I accept that some housing development has to be aspirational. When I win the £112 million Euro Lottery Jackpot on Friday, I would like to think that I can build my new mansion in my local community! So I don't want unaffordable housing to be excluded from the planning process; but why should any planning authority support a development where 90% of the proposed houses are designed to be unaffordable to the community in which they are to be built?

If a company sees the potential to build 100 houses in my village shouldn't the vast majority of those homes be affordable homes for those who want or need to live here, rather than be beyond the means of locals and their children?

Making 90% of those houses unaffordable to villagers, but affordable to commuters from Cheshire and Lancashire kills the village as a vibrant community and turns it into nothing more than a boring dormer community!

Local need and local affordability should be the driving force in housing policy!


  1. Yes, there is usually a community need for affordable housing to accommodate those in need.
    But it should be local authorities and housing associations that provide them.
    It should not be a state-imposed burden on the private developer.

  2. Why not? Speculative building is a blight on our communities and causes real problems. Its up to a local council to determine a policy of balanced building where all building types at all rents/sale prices are provided. Witness the over building of "luxury/executive" flats in Cardiff Bay, as opposed to the limited development/redevelopment of Butetown. Developers like to build flats with high service charges as it gives them a constant revenue stream, shame that the needs of the community are totally ignored. Its all about quick profit.

  3. Housing becomes affordable when you can afford one. If you cant afford you dont have a God given right to buy. It simples.

    You make some houses cheap for locals they will buy in the hope that they can cash in a few years time.

    Good news is is that affordability will improve as the credit bubble slowly deflates and house prices return to their long term average.

  4. The Developer07/10/2010, 19:34

    Developers are in the business, like all businessmen, of taking risk and hopefully making a reasonable profit. It is morally wrong for the state to single them out as a target for a form of tax on development...it is discriminatory, what ethical obligation does a developer have for providing affordable housing ?
    When 16.54 says that developers should make houses cheap for locals so they can cash in in a few years time, he totally misunderstands the philosophy....since the affordable housing is to be made availabe for generation after generation and the first or subsequent buyer should not capitalise upon it ??

  5. Developer -I'm not sure that I buy your claim that poor developers are forced by a bureaucratic state to build affordable houses against their will. Many developers offer to build a small percentage of affordable housing as a way of bribing planning committees and as a sop to those who might otherwise oppose unnecessary development in their community.

    Pondlife, your theology is a bit week here, we may not have a God given right to own our own homes, but we do have a Christian duty to Rescue the weak and homeless from the powerful hands of heartless people. (Psalm 82:4), for example by providing houses that local people can afford to buy or rent, before we build luxury homes in our villages for outsiders.

  6. I'm just saying really that you cant buck the market Denz- if you make homes affordable for one group they will act rationally and cash in their financial advantage at some point.

  7. It's a sad indictment of our society that some people are happy to see their compatriots frozen out of their own communities because of "the market".

    Good post though Alwyn- how odd that you consider yourself "centre-right"!

    All housing should be affordable, and a home should be a basic right of every citizen. The speculative housing bubble contributed to the crash of (what should be) our economy. Except it's not ours, it's theirs, but they want us to pay for its failure.