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The Guardian: "Revealed: how developers exploit flawed planning system to minimise affordable housing"

"The release of a ‘viability assessment’ for one of London’s most high-profile developments – seen exclusively by the Guardian – sheds new light on how developers are taking advantage of planning laws to ramp up their returns"

Link to web site

"... Seen exclusively by the Guardian, the document sheds new light on why so little affordable housing is being built across England; why planning policy consistently fails to be enforced; and why property developers are now enjoying profits that exceed even those of the pre-crash housing bubble.

"In the last decade, London has lost 8,000 social-rented homes. Under the Tory-led coalition, the amount of affordable housing delivered across the country fell by a third – from 53,000 homes completed in 2010 to 36,000 in 2014. Much of the reason lies hidden in these developers’ viability assessments and the dark arts of accounting, which have become all-powerful tools in the way our cities are being shaped.

"It is a phenomenon, in the view of housing expert Dr Bob Colenutt at the University of Northampton, that 'threatens the very foundations of the UK planning system'; a legalised practice of fiddling figures that represents 'a wholesale fraud on the public purse'. What was once a statutory system predicated on ensuring the best use of land has become, in Colenut's and many other experts' eyes, solely about safeguarding the profits of those who want to develop that land."

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