Taylor French Developments

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Taylor French Developments is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Highlighting best practice
CEO Steve French
Broadwater Dale
Founded in 2005, Taylor French are a family-run property
construction and development company specialising in high-
quality residential projects in London, the East of England, the
South East and the Midlands. Taylor French specialise in working with
housing associations and local authorities to create new affordable
homes. CEO Steve French discusses how the government should look
to address the issues currently facing the residential property market.
A substantial portion of under-35s in the UK are unable to buy a home, which is
unacceptable and divisive for society. There are some fairly immediate solutions
– but those solutions need to be implemented by a government prepared to take
bold decisions. The government’s proposals to increase the supply of housing by
making changes to the planning system should be welcomed. But these proposals
are not going to have any impact on the plight of the under-35s – and no
immediate solution of scale has been put forward to solve this issue.
The affordable housing system
Developers of residential sites of generally more than 15 units are required to build
40 per cent affordable housing. Affordable housing is approximately 40 per cent
social housing, 40 per cent affordable-to-rent and 20 per cent shared ownership.
All are undertaken by housing associations (HA) and the average government
grant per home is around £50,000. Starter homes are offered at 80 per cent of
open market value (OMV) and should begin being trialled by a number of local
authorities, but they are not currently considered to be affordable. Land for social
housing has a negative value, but land for shared ownership housing or starter
homes is worth 40 per cent of that for open market housing.
»CEO: Steve French
»Founded in 2005
»Based in Winslow,
Buckingham, regional office in
»No. of employees: 35
»Services: Family-run
property construction and
development, specialising
in high-quality residential
projects in London, the East of
England, the South East and
the Midlands
Taylor French
Currently, its costs the tax payer nearly
£50,000 per year to house a family in
temporary accommodation. By offering
housing associations grants of £50,000
per new affordable dwelling the
government would be spending this
£50,000 once and the family would be
housed in good quality family housing,
on new housing developments, with
other liked minded families and the
socially integrated benefits that brings.
Shared ownership and starter
Tenants in social housing and
affordable homes should be given
the right to purchase the property at
a discount. The government claims
that there is now limited availability
through HA release schemes, but we
have found it difficult to assess the
scale, suggesting it is far too small.
Discounts cannot be so big that HAs
end up with insufficient capital, but a
bigger discount for social housing than
affordable is justified because of the
government’s need to recycle capital
invested. This initiative would have an
immediate effect, but it will mean HAs
taking on change. Houses purchased
at a discount should only be sellable
at the same discount to those who
cannot afford market-value houses
– so these houses remain affordable.
Since shared ownership housing
throws up a higher land value than
to let does, an increase in the total
amount of affordable housing on a site
would not undermine viability.
Fifty per cent affordable homes is a
reasonable target, provided there is
a large to buy element. As outlined
above, these both throw up higher
land values than social or affordable
housing to let. Housebuilders will
threaten to slow development, but
when they realise that this initiative will
reduce the prospect of lower property
values, they will experience benefits.
The value of residential development
land can fall without housebuilders
and landowners suffering.
Reduce developer negotiating
Developers have unavoidable
infrastructure costs, but they are also
required to contribute towards the
cost of off-site social services. Where
infrastructure costs are relatively high,
developers should be able to negotiate
with the local authority. Because these
negotiations don’t happen until the
land has been zoned in the local plan,
developers are in a strong position. The
quantum of affordable housing should
be a non-negotiable issue, which
will mean that some sites won’t get
developed. Local authorities need to
identify locations where infrastructure
costs are lower, which should be
addressed before the land enters the
local plan.
Restrict council tenants’ Right
to Buy
In 2016, Scotland abandoned Right
to Buy, while the maximum discount
is £8,000 in Wales. In London the
maximum discount is £103,000.
Individuals who have been tenants
for three years receive a 50 per cent
discount, which increases to 70 per
cent. After five years, purchasers are
able to sell on without a discount.
By offering
grants of
£50,000 per
new affordable
dwelling the
would be
spending this
£50,000 once
and the family
would be
housed in good
quality family
Highlighting best practice
Social housing is being sold at below
its replacement cost, exacerbating the
shortage of social housing, and council
tenants are in a far more advantageous
position than those renting from the
private sector. There is a cost to local
authorities, so the discount needs to be
big enough to enable them to afford
to buy. There is also a strong argument
that purchasers should not be able
to sell on without discount after five
years, since this removes the houses
from the affordable sector. In order to
align HA housing with council housing,
HA social and affordable housing could
be made available at a discount.
Parental equity by first-time
Mortgage levels are restricted by the
borrower’s income and the loan-to-
value ratio. But many older people have
paid off most of their mortgages and
have spare equity as a result, which can
be used to help the next generation top
up their deposit. The process of equity
release involves borrowing between 25
and 50 per cent of their home’s value
on the basis that repayments and often
interest is rolled up until death when
the loan terminates.
This option for potential house buyers
might need government-assisted
promotion to increase awareness and
perhaps some form of government
guarantee in certain circumstances.
There is a potential conflict with the
possible need for “Baby Boomers” to
contribute at some point in the future
towards the cost of care in old age.
Starter homes
This initiative aims to provide housing
at a 20 per cent discount, and it will
be trialled in local authorities. It should
be available to developers of unused
brownfield land who are then able
to avoid community levies. This is
not considered part of the affordable
sector, but it definitely helps under-35s
and should be expanded.
A 20 per cent discount should be a
condition of onward sale by purchasers
to ensure the houses remain
affordable. The introduction of a larger
discount should be considered, and
starter homes should be considered as
an element of the affordable housing
requirement, imposed on development
sites of more than 15 units.
Work with housing associations
Only starter homes and council houses
can be bought at a discount and so
long as HA funding is not undermined,
there is a good argument to introduce
discounts to HA housing purchases.
While the average grant to HAs is
£50,000, the amount needed for
affordable housing to buy will be less
and will be more quickly recycled.
Given that purchasers will be moving
out of rented accommodation, the
supply of rented units will increase
and there will be less need to build
affordable homes for rent.
The target of 100,000 shared
ownership houses per annum will not
be achieved overnight, but increasing
it from the 8,000 to 40,000 is more
reasonable. At £30,000 per house,
an additional £1 billion from the
government would be enough – the
most electorally effective £1 billion the
government could spend.
The target of
houses per
annum will not
be achieved
overnight, but
increasing it
from the 8,000
to 40,000 is
Primrose Park


This article was sponsored by Taylor French Developments. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.