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London Forum Updates

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Susdrain publicises updated SuDS manual

Posted on: 6 December 2015 at 16:31:06
The UK’s most comprehensive SuDS guidance for sustainable urban drainage has been released to support uptake, manage floods and create better places and spaces.
As the UK moves into winter, potentially a time of greater flood risk as seen during the 2013-2014 winter, CIRIA has launched the most comprehensive industry SuDS guidance available in the UK.  See here.
The ciria site requires logging in for download, so a copy has been placed on London Forum's web site here.
Community groups should be aware of the policies for SuDS and liaise with their local authority on local implementation. That should include conditions placed on planning approvals for the use of permeable hard surfaces and other means of avoiding storm run-off from buildings.

A turnaround decade for housing promises Greg Clark

Posted on: 29 November 2015 at 16:23:12
A speech given on 25th November 2015 to the National House Building Council by Greg Clark has been published here.
In it he continues to criticise the planning system but acknowledges the current deficit in housing supply. He said the Government had "increased the stock of affordable homes. Over 263,000 affordable homes have been provided in England since April 2010 - nearly one third of them in London."
However, he fails to say how many of those were at rents in London suitable to someone earning less that £30,000 annually, nor how many of the 400,000 affordable homes he promises now will have rents that people on low to average incomes can afford.
The facts are that delivery of social rented homes has failed: London’s 2011-15 target was 8,000 but 4,221 were delivered plus only half of the 13,000 ‘affordable’ housing planned and those are at an average 80% market rent, well beyond the means of most people. The ‘intermediate’ housing target was 5,280 but only 2,390 were delivered.
A massive programme must be started of building homes by Housing Associations and Councils at rents that key workers and those on low wages can afford. If that is not done, the prediction by Savills that 70,000 new households a year will be unable to afford to rent or buy market housing unless assisted may harm both quality of life and London's economy.
Clark said that any Conservative government intervening in the market "is not something done lightly". However, he still intends to make office-to-resi permanent permitted development.

£400m warchest to rescue affordable housing deals

Posted on: 29 November 2015 at 15:39:53
Measures introduced by the Chancellor in July which included a 1 per cent cut to social rents has hit social landlords’ finances and their ability to pick up the affordable homes developers provide.
Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund has told Construction News it was already in the running for six “section 106 assets” in London and the North-west. Impact fund manager Shamez Alibhai said he had been approached by councils, associations and private housebuilders to step in and invest following the summer Budget. The fund will buy the affordable homes as an asset and lease them back to the council or housing association.
Cheyne is looking to invest up to £400m over the next three years in section 106 planning deals, out of a total of £900m it plans to invest in housing projects across the UK.

Savills: Severe problems in finding a home to live

Posted on: 29 November 2015 at 15:07:40
A report by Savills clarifies the problems for people looking for a home in London. The seriousness of the situation now and the potential problems in the future are very worrying.
An extra 350,000 English households will be unable to access either subsidised or market-rate housing in the next five years - including London families with annual incomes of up to £60,000.
Centre for London think-tank has concluded that, within two years, people with occupations such as senior nurses, teachers, doctors, solicitors and journalists will be unable to find housing that they can afford in the Greater London area.
Savills concludes that Right to Buy and Starter Homes will be unaffordable to households on the lowest incomes. In London 26,000 additional households a year will need housing that costs less than the market rate.
London Forum believes building more social housing in large quantities in London is essential but the Housing and Planning Bill indicates a huge switch of subsidy from such homes to ones to buy. The Bill's policies would reduce the number of low cost Council and Housing Association rental homes available now and three or more of them must be built for every one sold.
See Savills' reports on various aspects of the housing market here.

Deloitte's coverage of the Autumn Statement 2015

Posted on: 28 November 2015 at 17:01:48
Details from the Autumn Statement of the Chancellor, George Osborne, are summarised by Deloitte in a useful document here.

Review of the Community Infrastructure Levy

Posted on: 20 November 2015 at 22:39:54
The Government has announced a review of CIL which will come forward with proposed measures to ensure that developers are meeting their contribution to improved local infrastructure.
The details are announced here and the terms of reference and a questionnaire for completion are here.  The Government requests responses by 24th December and the deadline is 15th January 2016.
The Government states in the questionnaire that it is expecting submissions to be made by local authorities, developers and consultants.  However, London Forum urges community groups and others with experience of CIL and viability assessments to submit comments on the consultation's queries.

Heathrow third runway would congest transport and roads

Posted on: 13 November 2015 at 23:09:19
Transport for London has given a report to the Assembly's Transport Committee which concludes a third runway at Heathrow airport would cause severe congestion and overcrowding on London's roads and transport systems.

CLG Committee investigates Housing and Planning Bill

Posted on: 13 November 2015 at 21:26:33
On Monday 9th November, MPs on the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee questioned the Minister, Brandon Lewis, about starter homes and their 'priority', the statutory definition of affordability for both rent and purchase which Lewis said is 80% of the market value, the funding of social infrastructure, self-build projects, rogue landlords, the preparation and updating of Local Plans, 'planning-in-principle', the 'pay-to-stay' threshold and the sale by local authorities of high-value assets for which he did not answer the question "Will the receipts from the compulsory sale of council homes in London be ring‑fenced for the provision of replacement homes in London?"

Funding made available to communities for Pocket Parks

Posted on: 13 November 2015 at 21:04:16
On 7th November the Government launched a £1.5 million programme of support for communities to establish pocket parks in urban areas.
Pocket parks are described on page 305 in Chapter 7 of the London Plan here and Policy 7.18 for Protecting Open Space and Addressing Deficiency is on the previous page.
The Government's prospectus invites communities, with the support of their local authority, to make an application for up to £10,000 capital and up to £5,000 resource funding per project. The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Thursday 10th December.
All financial support will need to be spent by the end of the 2015/16 financial year.

Minister phases Housing Association Right to Buy

Posted on: 13 November 2015 at 20:45:38
'Inside Housing' has reported that the Government intends to introduce the RTB of Housing Association properties gradually in order to ensure there is enough funding available.
Housing Associations have been classified by the Office of National Statistics as part of the public sector, leading to an estimated £60bn increase in public sector net debt.
Greg Clark said in a speech “We need to join the forces of housing associations, local councils and commercial developers. Then we have a good chance doing what all of us want which is to build more homes. Housing associations have a major role to play in that respect. They have a standing army of developers with the energy and expertise to build the homes we need. We want to enrich the role of Housing Associations in house building.”
However, see here the Spectator report on a Channel 4 investigation of Housing Associations which raises many issues about some of them.
Greg Clark pledged that HAs would get full market compensation for homes sold and in ‘cash’ rather than grant form.

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