Conference urges the housing industry to provide more affordable homes in London
The housing industry needs to do more to win the support of Londoners for new home building with council, social rented and genuinely affordable housing being a priority, it is suggested.
The inaugural Homes for Londoners conference, held at the Royal Victoria Docks in Newham, with more than 400 representatives from the housing sector, discussed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans for more council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable housing in London.
Speakers on the conference panels included representatives from the Magpie Project which supports mothers and children in temporary accommodation, the volunteer-led community land trust RUSS, and the YIMBY London grassroots housing campaign.
‘My message to industry is clear, what Londoners need are more council, social rented and other genuinely affordable homes. I’ll do everything I can to help, and I’ll continue to lobby Government hard for the money London needs, but everyone has a role to play, and that includes developers,’ said Khan.
‘My challenge to homebuilders is not to lose sight of their social responsibilities, and to redouble their efforts to provide the homes Londoners genuinely need,’ he added.
According to the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, many councils are driving ambitious house building programmes supported by grants from the GLA’s Building Council Homes for Londoners fund.
She explained that in Newham there are more than 5,200 households in temporary accommodation and a housing waiting list of 27,000. ‘That’s why we’re working hard to build good quality sustainable homes and neighbourhoods with our residents at the heart of it,’ said Fiaz.
‘And that’s what makes the Homes for Londoners conference so unique, because it brings people right into the heart of discussions on housing delivery in the capital and their vital role in shaping stable and socially integrated communities,’ she added.
Raji Hunjan, chair of the Mayor’s London Housing Panel, said it was a bold and exciting opportunity for communities to come together with house builders and policy makers to have different conversations about the type of housing Londoners want and need.
In addition to community representatives on every panel, students from Sarah Bonnell School in Newham had the opportunity to present their ideas for the development of their local area to the Mayor.
The conference had a focus on the Mayor’s pledge to encourage Good Growth by Design, meaning new developments should benefit everyone who lives there and be environmentally sustainable, physically accessible and sensitive to the local area.
The Mayor said that he is using all the resources and powers currently at his disposal to tackle the housing crisis, and last year started a record 14,544 affordable homes, including nearly 4,000 at social rent levels, more than in any year since City Hall took control of housing investment in the capital, and exceeding the target of 14,000 agreed with Government ministers.
Last year Khan launched ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’, the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to council home building, announcing more than £1 billion funding for 11,154 new council homes at social rent levels and a further 3,570 other homes, including those for London Living Rent. The highest number of new council homes in London in 34 years were also started with City Hall’s support last year.