Peterborough a hotspot for social housing ‘get-out clause’ says charity

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Peterborough is a hotspot for a social housing ‘get-out clause’, according to the housing charity Shelter.

Currently developers do not have to pay contributions to the council for social housing or make any of the homes affordable when they convert certain non-residential buildings, like office blocks, into homes using permitted development rights.

A new analysis from Shelter shows Peterborough is one of the top 10 hotspots in the country for this get out clause, with more than one in three (34 per cent) of homes delivered last year coming through permitted development rights.

This means that developers did not have to make any of these new homes affordable or make financial contributions to build social housing in Peterborough, despite more than 3,000 people being on the housing waiting list in Peterborough according to the most recent government figures from 2017.

Shelter is now also warning that affordable housing in Peterborough may be “under threat” as the Government is now considering a proposal to expand this so developers can demolish and replace commercial buildings using the same legal mechanism.

The housing charity is concerned that this would create a new “social housing black hole” by giving developers beefed up powers to dodge their obligations to build social housing.

Polly Neate, Shelter CEO, said: “There are 3,000 households on the social housing waiting list in Peterborough, and yet new plans are now being developed that could supercharge a social housing get-out clause for developers.

“This risks creating a social housing black hole just at the time when the people of Peterborough need them most.

“We need to raise the alarm so the Government halts these plans and instead looks to bring down the cost of land to build the social homes we need.”