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 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.