Vistry Partnerships supports new report showing community contributions at risk as almost 40,000 fewer homes built as a result of COVID-19

Vistry Partnerships supports new report showing community contributions at risk as almost 40,000 fewer homes built as a result of COVID-19

  • 38,700 fewer homes were built in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019, when industry was planning for year on year growth had it not been for Covid-19
  • Vistry Partnerships supports new report from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) highlighting the £7billion contributed by developers to communities in the past year and the risk of community benefits lost as a result of homes not being built
  • Developer contributions in the last year are enough to build 25,000 miles of new road, recruit over 8,500 teachers, and plant 8.6 million trees, demonstrating the community benefits of building new homes

Government statistics showing that between March and June almost 40,000 fewer homes were built in England and Wales as a result of Covid-19, is the most stark indication yet of the impact the pandemic has had on the housing sector. These figures also highlight the wider impact for local communities given the subsequent loss of local contributions and community benefits that come with the development of new homes. 30,394 new homes were completed in Q2 2020, less than half of the 69,100 built in the same period last year, a staggering decline when, had it not been for Covid-19, the industry was planning for year-on-year growth.

Vistry Partnerships has thrown its support behind the latest report from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) Building Communities: Making Place a Home, which quantifies the levels of community investment by home builders in real world terms, showing that this stagnation has an impact not just on new homes but on vital community investment that goes alongside house building.

The report outlines government figures which demonstrate that developer contributions to communities through Section 106 agreements and other mechanisms in the last year has been over £7 billion. In sector specific contributions, enough has been invested in education to recruit 8,500 new teachers, in green spaces to plant 8.6 million trees, raised in council tax to build 25,000 miles of road or fill 53 million potholes. The home building industry has also played a key role in helping local communities respond to the devasting impact of Covid-19 by supplying PPE, donating funds and creating new spaces where people can be treated safely.

To raise awareness of the contribution of home builders for communities, the HBF is calling for a public badging scheme, labelling all community assets which were funded by developer investment, which can be done via an easily visible ‘blue plaque’ or sign.

It also calls for developer contributions which cannot be spent on their original intended purpose to be given to the affected community directly, not returned to the developer. This can be done through council tax rebates or direct payments to local residents.

Our work via the Skills Academy and with Cornwall Council and LiveWest has been profiled in the new report, including the Cornwall Land Initiative planning to deliver 55% affordable housing across eight sites providing an additional 92 affordable homes beyond policy requirements.

Mark Thompson, Strategy and Projects Director at Vistry Partnerships, commented on the publication:

“We welcome this report which demonstrates the positive economic, environmental and social impacts that new homes have on building sustainable communities. Vistry Partnerships are committed to building back stronger from the impacts of Covid 19 by creating the places and homes of all tenures that meet the country’s need. We are proud to be the UK’s largest provider of affordable housing in the UK.”