The delivery of new housing in the current economic and political climate is more challenging than ever. The issue of housing supply, particularly the demand for more affordable housing, continues to dominate the news agenda. So how do local authorities secure the delivery of the right homes in their area? In a bid to find a solution, councils are increasingly likely to partner with the private sector and build houses together.
At Weightmans, we have a long track record of working on key projects across the country, where we encounter these challenges faced by our clients. Issues are so complex and circumstances vary so it’s crucial that any solutions we seek are bespoke to the problem we deal with. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Housing delivery vehicles are often medium to long term projects. Whilst being quick to adapt to changes and variations is required during the progress of a project, continuity is also key – of both approach and of people involved. Sound simple? We live in changing times for councils, and maintaining this consistency is often much more challenging than it would appear.
Innovation will be a necessity as market conditions change and those involved with any project face increasingly diverse and complex challenges, both in terms of statutory and practical obstacles that may be faced.
Access to project information in real time, through digital technology or other means is important in facilitating continuity, providing much-needed support in keeping up to date with key aspects of the project. Digital integration can also facilitate implementation without having to constantly revisit old ground, which can help mitigate the consequent delays, pressures and issues that can occur.
Both procurement and funding challenges present their own particular problems but there is now clear guidance as to how these challenges should be met. Councils should be light on their feet and be able to quickly consider issues and implement change when needed, in order for the guidance to be most effective.
We are passionate about facilitating housing innovation and delivery, and helping our clients in the public sector to deliver local regeneration and housebuilding which fulfils their aims and is the outcome of successful engagement with the local community.
There are varying models of housing delivery and councils should consider ones that align closely with their objectives. Regardless of the vehicle – remember the risks involved. Planning, preparation and communication are key to ensuring that these risks can be responded to quickly and with confidence.