The Accelerated Funding Route and the Future of Affordable Housing in London - Grants on S106


The recent introduction of the Accelerated Funding Route (AFR) by the Greater London Authority (GLA) marks a pivotal moment in the landscape of affordable housing in London. This innovative approach, aimed at simplifying the grant funding process for affordable housing projects, promises to reshape the way Registered Providers (RPs) and developers contribute to the city's housing needs. But what does this mean for the future of affordable housing in London, and how can stakeholders navigate this change?

Simplifying the Process

At its core, the AFR is designed to address the complexities and uncertainties that have historically plagued the funding and delivery of affordable housing. By setting clear parameters for grant allocation and removing the need for Additionality Viability Assessments for certain projects, the GLA is streamlining the process. This not only reduces administrative burdens but also provides much-needed clarity and predictability for RPs and developers.

Encouraging Participation

One of the notable challenges in the affordable housing sector has been the reluctance of some RPs to engage in Section 106 (S106) agreements, often due to the perceived financial and operational risks. The AFR's straightforward approach to grant calculation and its defined grant rates for various types of affordable homes could mitigate these concerns, encouraging more RPs to participate in S106 opportunities. This is crucial for increasing the stock of affordable housing and meeting the needs of London's diverse population.

Boosting Affordable Housing Supply

By making it easier and more attractive for RPs and developers to pursue affordable housing projects, the AFR has the potential to significantly boost the supply of affordable homes in London. This comes at a time when the city's housing crisis continues to deepen, with many Londoners finding it increasingly difficult to access affordable and suitable housing. The AFR represents a step in the right direction, aiming to increase the proportion of affordable homes in new developments and contribute to the city's long-term housing strategy.

Fostering Collaboration

The success of the AFR will depend on the collaboration between the GLA, RPs, developers, and other stakeholders. It is essential for these parties to work together closely, sharing insights, and aligning their efforts to maximise the impact of the AFR. The GLA's willingness to consider further flexibilities for key strategic projects that cannot meet the AFR parameters highlights the importance of adaptability and partnership in addressing London's housing challenges.

Looking Ahead

As the AFR begins to take effect, it will be important to monitor its impact on the affordable housing sector closely. Stakeholders should be prepared to adapt their strategies in response to the evolving landscape and continue seeking innovative solutions to the city's housing needs. The AFR is a promising development, but it is just one piece of the puzzle. Addressing London's housing crisis will require ongoing commitment, creativity, and collaboration from all involved.

The introduction of the Accelerated Funding Route is a watershed moment for affordable housing in London. By simplifying the grant funding process and encouraging more RPs and developers to participate in affordable housing projects, the AFR has the potential to make a significant contribution to the city's housing landscape. As we move forward, it will be crucial to embrace this change, fostering collaboration and innovation to ensure that every Londoner has access to a safe, affordable, and welcoming home.