April 15, 2019
April 29, 2019
Survey: You Told Us How You Think The Development Process Can Help Build Trust
The real estate industry accepts a share of the blame for the lack of trust between developers and local communities, but is unwilling to substantially alter the system to change this, according to a Bisnow poll.
As part of a series examining placemaking and the relationship between developers and local London communities, Bisnow surveyed its London readership about how the development process is working now and how it can be improved.
Just over half of respondents (53%) said the current level of distrust toward developers is justified, showing the real estate industry accepts a need for change. But further questions about how the system could be improved showed less willingness to change.
Just 26% of the respondents thought that the statutory amount of consultation developers should be forced to undertake with local communities should be increased.
When it came to the question of who bears the largest amount of blame for London’s lack of affordable housing, a major cause of distrust of the real estate world, just 16% of those surveyed thought developers were to blame. A third blamed local authorities, while another 16% thought it was the fault of the mayor’s office or the Greater London Authority. Another 11% blamed NIMBY residents, and others put the fault on the planning system more broadly and the development taxation system.
Fewer than half of respondents (42%) thought the current system of viability assessments to decide on the level of affordable housing, often a major source of controversy on new schemes, should be scrapped.
Among those who thought the assessments should be scrapped, there were some interesting responses as to what to put in their place.
“A baseline payment to facilitate the delivery of a policy-compliant level of affordable housing, but with an increase in developer contributions via section 106 to mitigate any negative impact of the planning application,” one respondent suggested.
“A simple agreement to provide a minimum amount given the product type e.g. BTR = 20%,” another said.
“A covenant should be placed on all land sales that require the site to be sold and acquired at a level that enables a minimum level of 50% affordable housing to be delivered,” one person surveyed said. “If this minimum target subsequently cannot be achieved then the previous landowner should be required to pay back the excess profit taken from the disposal of the site or the developer should be required to dispose of the site to the public sector at a price at which the public sector can deliver a scheme with 50% affordable housing.”
Respondents were asked what the right level of affordable housing for significant new schemes should be, and here again this survey, targeted at members of the real estate industry, showed an unwillingness to change the current system. Around a third said the right amount of affordable housing is 10% to 20%, with about the same proportion saying the right amount is 20% to 30%, and 15% said it should be 0% to 10%. Current London policy is that if schemes offer 35% affordable housing they receive fast-track planning permission.
Asked about the best forms of consultation with local communities, about 80% thought that open-forum meetings and meetings with targeted community groups are the best form of engagement. More than half (57%) are willing to try digital engagement through channels like social media, a strategy being pioneered by PropTech platform Built-ID.
Holding events like food fairs or concerts were less popular, favoured by just 42%, and only 36% are willing to use the same strategy as U+I and offer a share of excess profits to local communities.