Shelter calls for legal loophole closure

By William Eichler | 28 September 2017

A legal loophole has allowed big developers in Kensington and Chelsea to avoid building more than 700 social homes.

The homes would have been enough to house those made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire.

New research by the homelessness charity Shelter found that housing developers used a ‘viability assessment’ to argue they are unable to build homes because it would reduce their profit margins.

In Kensington and Chelsea, Shelter found the loophole was exploited by developers to reduce the amount of affordable housing from the council’s policy target of 50% to only 15%.

Shelter chief executive, Polly Neate, said: ‘At a time when we desperately need more affordable homes, big developers are allowed to prioritise their profits by building luxury housing while backtracking on their promises to build a fair share of affordable homes.

‘The Government must make sure we treat affordable housing commitments as cast iron pledges, rather than optional extras, and act now to close the loophole that allows developers to wriggle out of building the affordable homes this country urgently needs.’

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