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Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research


We are not delivering the quantity and quality of new housing required, especially affordable housing. The planning system is seen as one of the main barriers to the delivery of new housing. This Solutions paper, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, contains lessons for policy and practice. It analyses the potential of a more localised system housing and planning system.

Recent years have seen higher house prices, greater house price volatility and worsening affordability. Housing output has been low, even in the boom. There is resistance to top-down targets at the local level. Local hostility to new development is often driven by fears that adequate roads, schools and other services will not be provided. Land supply is heavily constrained and available land is not always in the right places. There is not enough funding for affordable housing, especially with the collapse of Section 106 contributions in the market downturn. Regulation is expensive, complicated and slow moving. 

The top-down approach has not worked well. There is a case for a more bottom-up approach; moving away from national targets towards a more localised, incentives-based system of land-use planning.


Gemma Burgess

Sarah Monk

Christine Whitehead

Publication Date

26th March 2010