Students, housing practitioners and tenants engaged in a hard-hitting analysis of the housing crisis at Leeds Planning Network’s Master Class on the Future of Affordable Homes on 17 March.
Speakers from leading housing organisations in the region provided an inside track on the government’s housing proposals and the impact of recent housing benefit changes. An audience of over 40 practitioners, students and community representatives discussed the prospects for housing futures, with the supply of homes dwindling and prices through the roof.
This was the fourth Master Class organised by Leeds Planning Network, one of the go-ahead research clusters in the School of the Built Environment and Engineering. Leading this project, senior housing and planning lecturer Quintin Bradley, said:
“This Master Class was a chance to assess the future for affordable housing with the key developers of not-for-profit and public housing. A perfect storm of policies threaten the existence of the affordable rented sector and this event gave practitioners, tenants and students an opportunity to get to grips with the likely impact”.
President of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Geraldine Howley, who is also chief executive of Incommunities, Bradford’s biggest affordable housing provider kicked off the event with an incisive analysis of the threats. Reductions in housing benefit for people aged under 35 have meant increasing rent arrears and have led Incommunities to dispose of many affordable single household homes.
Harrogate borough council’s development manager, Jenny Wood warned that the forced sale of council housing promised in the Housing Bill would deprive the town – which has the highest market rents in the north – of almost all its one bed affordable flats.
Martyn Broadest, development manager from Connect Housing, a West Yorkshire community housing association, reminded the audience of the social purpose of affordable housing, and warned of a resurgence of slum-living and a huge increase in homelessness.
The Master Class was ably chaired by Jane Kettle, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, and former head of school at Leeds Beckett University. Questions from community land trusts, commercial builders, tenants, and housing activists made for a lively debate. Slides from the presentations can be viewed at the ISSU link below. Tweets and images from the event itself can be viewed at the storify slideshow below the presentations.
The next Leeds Planning Network Master Class will be on Thursday 12 May on the Future of Retail Planning and will be chaired by Leeds Beckett Professor Cathy Barnes.
Martyn Broadest Presentation (Via Prezi)