The law of unintended consequences

The law of unintended consequences is a powerful thing.

Decisions are made, often with the best of intentions, which simply make things worse.

A good example was reported on in 24Housing recently. The full article is here but the gist of it is that planning regulations have been relaxed to allow people to convert offices into homes. So in some areas you can create a home from an office without any scrutiny from the local authority planning department.

I’m sure this was done in an attempt to get rid of the dreaded red tape, and to create more homes; to free up developers to build more much needed homes for families.

But the impact is likely to be very different. As 24Housing point out:

communities have no way to ensure developers meet high-quality standards, provide any affordable homes as part of the development or ensure supporting infrastructure such as roads, schools, and health services are in place.

So instead of more housing to benefit our communities – mixed tenure, high standards, green and fuel efficient, supporting infrastructure in place – we are going to find more unaffordable homes, built quickly, not well thought through and with an eye purely on profit.

At Future Housing Forum we are big fans of profit. It is a driver for growth and good practice. And we know that planning departments can be overly bureaucratic, and the S106 rules are complex and tricky to navigate. But simply getting rid of checks and balances is not the answer. Correctly used, planning rules and section 106 agreements can benefit everyone; developer, housing association and tenant or purchaser.

That’s where we can help. By using our contacts in the developer and housing association world we can make the deals happen. We can help you through the planning process and enable you to easily work through the S106 process.

Why? Because like the decision makers who waived planning permission, we want more homes to be built to benefit communities, families and society.

Call us to find out more