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The London Assembly Discusses Housing in London

The London Assembly convened last week to discuss the Mayor’s approach to housing and planning in the new term.

The primary focus was the Mayor’s consideration of a City Hall-led development company to boost the delivery of social affordable housing. Despite the pledges made in the Mayor’s election manifesto, only a minor section of the debate was dedicated to planning reform, mixed housing types and tenures, regeneration, and deepening issues associated with overcrowding in London.

The Assembly re-affirmed its call that the UK Government must do more to ensure that innocent leaseholders do not pay the costs related to the building safety crisis.

As reported: ‘The Assembly asks the Mayor to implement a clear policy of not working with, or funding, developers or HAs that have not taken action to support leaseholders in existing stock they own or have built. The Assembly also motions to establish a fire safety victims support hub providing both mental health and practical advice to affected leaseholders. There is also a motion to trial a ‘public fire safety risk assessment register’ (like EPC certs) so that prospective buyers or renters can view the fire safety rating of potential homes(this doesn’t seem well put together, considering the EWS1 crisis is already affecting saleability).

The Assembly raised concerns that while the £1.6bn pledged to the Building Safety Fund is welcome,’the size and scope of the funding is wholly insufficient to deal with the scale of the building safety crisis and leaves many facing extortionate bills and serious health problems, all while living in potentially dangerous homes.’

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, said: “The motion carried by the London Assembly to ensure that innocent leaseholders do not foot the costs relating to fire safety compliance is a step in the right direction for those unfairly facing thousands of pounds in remediation costs. The ball is in the Mayor’s court to implement a policy of protection; establish a fire safety victims support hub and trial a risk register that provides genuine accountability over these defects.”

She added: “Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE is right to say that the next step is a wholesale review of building regulations around fire safety. Clarity, like what was demanded in the much-respected Hackitt Report, should be a national priority that stretches far beyond fire safety inspections.”