Senior BTR figures call for more support from planners to grow sector

Harry Downes

Chief Executive
Fizzy Living

Senior figures in build-to-rent (BTR) have called for the sector to get its own use class. At a dinner at the Ham Yard Hotel, organised by Jo Cowen Architects, chief executive of Fizzy Living Harry Downes aid a BTR use class would allow the sector to grow.

“We’re doing something that works.” Downes said. “It’s being done all over the world and it would meet the needs of the UK ‘renty-something’ generation. But we need a use class that gives us the ability to buy land. Something that is a cracking deal around the back of a gasworks isn’t necessarily a great deal for your tenants.”

Meanwhile, Jo Cowen, founder of Jo Cowen Architects, pointed out that BTR development costs 30% more than the sae for-sale development to deliver, so the blanket 35% affordable housing targets set by the Greater London Authority (GLA) in London may out BTR developments at a disadvantage at site acquisition stage. “While more pro-development than local authorities, members of the GLA aren’t going to provide their full support unless it provides 35% affordable housing and replicates the for-sale developments. Viability is truly site-specific, but yet still generically dealt with across all the use classes.”

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