1945 onwards, Britain saw a Golden age of Architecture and Planning generated by the need for rebuilding following the devastation of the blitz; utilising an advancement of pre-fabricated building technologies- developed during the war.
‘The Housing Act, 1930’ otherwise known as the Greenwood Act, enabled councils to borrow funds for the demolition of Victorian slums and the construction of new homes. Councils became landlords in the truest sense, using capital from rent to feed further development projects. There was a strong belief held by Politicians, Architects and Urban Designers alike, that the health and happiness of the nation could be managed through the provision of good quality housing.
Council housing in the 1960s was highly desirable, due to its implementation of new Architectural thinking. Housing quality standards drastically improved through government implementation of research by committees such as Parker Morris, who aided in the formulation of 1960’s housing standards such as; ‘Space in the Home’.
The late fifties and early sixties were dominated by ‘high rise’ and ‘system building’. Towers sprung up in all major cities allowing the site at ground level to be enjoyed as parkland but towards the end of the 1970’s, the Golden Age came to an abrupt end.
‘The Housing Act, 1980’ gave tenants the ‘Right to Buy’ their own homes, at around a third of the market rate. The issue of council budget shortfalls (given the loss of rent) or the level of remaining council homes, was something that the Thatcher’s manifesto never explored.
Over time, as the population of London has increased, council housing stock has continued to fall. The demand for homes available at affordable rates rises again. London is contained within a green belt. As its population increases, the city has no option but to focus development efforts on improved density and building on brownfield sites such as the East Docklands.
No longer able to borrow outside their budgets, Councils within London are struggling to provide much-needed housing. Councils have widely been accused of ‘managed decline’. This is the process of deliberately restricting maintenance of existing buildings until they reach a semi slum-like state. This strengthens planning arguments for demolition and/or redevelopment by private developers.
Section 1.06 is a legal agreement, between authorities granting planning permission and its applicants.
As new developments often place added; social, economic and physical pressure on existing infrastructure, it is normal for authorities to ask for a community contribution. This contribution can be in a monetary form or through the provision of required services, such as libraries, schools or social housing.
The scale of contribution is balanced against the profits of any new development. However, post planning, these figures are regularly manipulated to free developers from much of their monetary obligation.