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Cities Policy


Goldsmith Street, Norwich

Goldsmith Street, a social housing development in Norwich designed by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley, won architecture’s prestigious Stirling Prize in 2019.


Our Housing priorities

  • Create a residential offer in liveable town and city centres that builds on the assets and amenities that are already there
  • Create more genuinely affordable housing through construction of a new generation of low carbon social housing to meet local need
  • Use housing to tackle inequalities and level up, with more support to build varied housing stock for diverse community needs 

Providing enough good quality, affordable and social housing is a perennial problem for our member cities. 

Furthermore, the legacy of the pandemic will have long-term consequences for urban centres: the demand for retail and commercial space is likely to be permanently lower as society embraces hybrid working and shopping online.

We can tackle these twin challenges together.

We’re campaigning for a town and city centre housing revolution, with policy and funding change that can unlock housing development opportunities and build new communities in mid-sized town and city centres across the country.

Surplus space should be converted into high quality housing, with more affordable and mixed tenure opportunities and new developments undertaken in a ‘place-based’ rather than ‘one-size-fits-all’ way, and with sensitivity to local heritage and the diverse needs of local people.

To achieve this ambition, Councils and housing associations will need policy change and additional resources to address the serious shortage of quality, affordable housing.

Policy options we’re exploring include wiping Housing Revenue Account debt; greater freedoms to use receipts from Right to Buy sales to build affordable housing; regulatory changes to promote high quality housing, including in heritage buildings; and providing social housing tenants with a cash subsidy that they could use to purchase properties in the general market, as an alternative to right to buy discounts.

Portfolio Lead

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