Woodknowledge Wales will be responding to the call for evidence to the Affordable Housing Review which was announced by the Welsh Government’s Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans back in April.

The independent review is chaired by Lynn Pamment, a senior partner in the Cardiff office of the global professional services firm PwC who will lead an expert team. It will consider how to double the rate of affordable home building in Wales and include topics such as rent policy, affordability, grant and standards. The review will report in 2019.

Lynn Pamment has said her ambitions are to ensure the review is long lasting, that it makes a difference, is practical and palatable to implement and is as inclusive as possible. The expert team includes:
Helen Collins – Head of Housing Consultancy at Savills, the global real estate company
Phil Jenkins – Managing Director and founding partner of corporate finance advisers Centrus
Kevin Morgan – Professor of Governance and Development and Dean of Engagement for Cardiff University
Peter Williams – Executive Director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, a Departmental Fellow, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and an independent consultant on housing and mortgage markets and housing policy
Roisin Wilmott – Director of RTPI Cymru, the Royal Town Planning Institute in Wales

The review includes a number of workstreams. Of particular interest are those looking at the standards which affordable homes are currently built to and the construction supply chain (particularly modern methods of construction or MMC). Contributors are being asked to address some particular questions under each workstream. On standards these include:

• which standards beyond building regulations there should be for affordable homes in the next decade
• whether the additional cost of the current Development Quality Requirements can be justified or whether there are more cost effective alternative means of delivering choice and flexibility?
• whether all new grant funded homes or homes built on Welsh Government land should be designed to be zero carbon or energy positive
• how Welsh Government should ensure all new grant funded homes or homes built on Welsh Government land create sustainable places and quality homes

And in relation to the construction supply chain questions include:
• how modern methods of construction, including off-site manufacturing, can contribute towards speeding up the delivery of affordable housing, without reducing quality
• how Welsh Government can best support local authorities and housing associations to ensure homes are built in sufficient numbers using modern methods of construction to drive down the cost of production
• other parts of the housing supply chain which could be supported and improved to enable the delivery of more housing and current barriers to this.

In her call for evidence Lynn Pamment said: “Whilst good progress has been made in Wales in providing affordable homes, there is a desire to increase the number of affordable homes available and to do so at pace. This includes continuing to create an environment which provides opportunities and in fact drives innovation and improvements in terms of design, quality and energy efficiency too’. She added “The review will engage extensively with housing organisations involved in the delivery of affordable housing. I’m keen to provide a means for all those who wish to make a contribution to the discussion to have the opportunity to do so.” She also said the ‘call for evidence’ was one part of ‘a planned extensive engagement’ and she encouraged all those with an interest in this work to participate.

Responses to the call need to be sent by Friday 14 September to Vanessa Brookes
at Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ and by email to: AffordableHousingReview@gov.wales

Doubling the rate of affordable home building in Wales