The Bartlett School of Planning


Third report on local authority housebuilding published

17 September 2021

Third report

A third report of research exploring local authority direct development of housing across England has been launched. Led by Professor Janice Morphet (Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Planning) and Dr Ben Clifford (Associate Professor at the Bartlett School of Planning), the research follows similar reports published in 2017 and 2019 and utilising the same mixed methods approach of desk based research, a questionnaire survey sent directly to authorities, a series of roundtable discussions and case study interviews. The report finds that that 80% of local authorities now self-report that they are directly engaged in the provision of housing, a notable increase from the 69% of authorities reporting in the survey published in 2019 that they were directly engaged and the 65% from the 2017 survey answering similarly. There was increased corporate priority around housing development, particularly around maximising affordable housing delivery, in many councils and a growing sense of momentum.

Professor Janice Morphet said:

he third wave of research into how local authorities are directly engaging in housing provision shows that this has moved from a marginal to a mainstream issue. Our research in 2017, 2019 and now 2021 shows that councils are increasingly  prioritising the delivery of housing – particularly affordable provision – to meet local housing needs and shortfalls in other means of delivery, particularly through the planning system. In 2021, we have learned of more detailed experience as councils increase their delivery targets and expand their approaches which is shared in this research including the use of MMC, increasing environmental standards, the role of JVs, council partners and company names and the increased levels of activity to meet homelessness. The research will make a contribution to the growing practices of direct delivery of housing by local authorities in England.

The full report is available to download here.

The accompanying desk survey table is available to download here.

The 2017 and 2019 reports are available via the RTPI website at https://www.rtpi.org.uk/research/2019/july/local-authority-direct-delivery-of-housing-ii-continuation-research/