We were pleased to host a seminar “Widening housing choice”, arranged by Joyce Hartley Planning. It was very timely – shortly afterwards the Scottish Government published its planning delivery advice on build to rent (BTR).

The Scottish Government wants to encourage a growing BTR sector. The planning delivery advice takes a stronger approach than the March 2016 draft:

  • BTR is now described as a “significant” opportunity to increase the overall rate of delivery of housing
  • planning authorities are to take a “positive approach”
  • they should be responsive to varying approaches, as BTR has different economics from build for sale
  • there should be flexibility in relation to density, minimum space standards and single aspect units

The Housing Minister also announced a challenge fund for custom and self-built homes. At the seminar we heard about the self-build development being promoted by Glasgow City Council in Maryhill.

The seminar was a reminder that widening housing choice is about addressing specific needs, as well as people’s aspirations. It’s a jigsaw with many pieces. It’s also about who provides the housing, with councils having less resources, and housing associations facing new challenges/ pressures.

BTR is an opportunity to widen both housing choice and providers. The planning delivery advice is an important step forward.