Delivering Affordable Housing through Planning Policy found significant differences in five English regions in getting more affordable homes as part of residential developments.
'This report paints a mixed picture, which fails to identify many examples of good practice.
'Affordable housing is vital to the life of any community. In too many parts of the country essential workers like nurses, doctors, teachers and police officers cannot afford to live near where they work.
'This can lead to huge problems of recruiting and retaining staff. It's not just in London. Many of our towns, cities and rural communities face real difficulties in the future unless more affordable homes are available very soon.'
To help tackle the problem an Affordable Housing Unit was launched earlier this month. It will work with councils, housing managers and the private sector to focus on quick solutions.
Lord Falconer added:
'It's apparent from the research that some councils are not properly using planning policies and this is a lost opportunity to more affordable homes.
'The job of the Affordable Housing Unit is to help overcome these barriers very soon and to bring all councils up to the standard of the very best.'
1. Research for Delivering Affordable Housing through Planning Policy was carried out during 2000 and 2001 by Entec UK Ltd, Three Dragons and Nottingham Trent University. It looked at the effectiveness of current planning policy guidance on affordable housing, set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 3: Housing and Circular 6/98, Planning and Affordable Housing.
2. The five English regions were London, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands.
3. In December 2001 the DTLR published Planning Obligations: Delivering a Fundamental Change, one of a series of consultation papers proposing reform to the planning system.
4. It proposes replacing the present system of negotiated planning obligations with a tariff that will be set by local authorities in their local development plans and subsequently local development frameworks. Affordable housing will be a high priority in many plans and local frameworks.
5. DTLR has recently set up an Affordable Housing Unit with the aim of focusing on short term measures (over the next three years) which will help improve delivery of affordable housing. It will work closely with partners in regional and local authorities, professional housing managers, developers and others in the public and private sectors.
6. The report and the planning green paper and its related documents are available on the department's website: