The Bartlett School of Planning


Fourth report on Local Authority Housebuilding launched

24 January 2024

BSP's Professors Janice Morphet and Ben Clifford have published their fourth report of research exploring local authority direct development of housing across England.


The research by Professor Ben Clifford and visiting Professor Janice Morphet explores the motivations, means, methods and challenges of local government housebuilding activity, updating the previous research published in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

The new research finds that the vast majority of councils across the country are now directly engaged in housing delivery again but a number of significant challenges have emerged which are preventing this activity being further scaled-up to meet much needed housing, particularly affordable homes.

The research is funded and supported by the National Planning Forum, the Planning Officers' Society, Savills and Willmott Dixon.

Prof. Clifford said: "This new research continues our work since 2017 charting the reemergence of local authority housebuilding. Housing provision, particularly delivery of affordable housing, is a significant corporate priority for the vast majority of local authorities across England and local government appears motivated to want to engage in direct delivery of homes as a core function again. There are, however, a number of pressing challenges and congested priorities preventing these motivations being fully realised. There is a range of things that could be done, including by central government, to help deliver the radical programme of council house building that is desparately needed."

Read the report

Professor Ben Clifford is Programme Director of both Spatial Planning MSc, and Spatial Planning Degree Apprenticeship MSc.