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London Forum Updates

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LB Wandsworth achieves a good library service

Posted on: 12 August 2016 at 19:28:44
A report by Wandsworth Council shows considerable achievement in library management and development.
See also the summary here.
It is hoped that other boroughs will be able to make similar improvements in libraries.

NLA publishes reports following events

Posted on: 3 August 2016 at 19:52:22
The New London Architecture Centre has published reports on several conferences and meetings held.  See Southwark moves to centre stage , London councils put heads together to create more affordable workspace and Work – The talent exodus – how do we remedy it

CLG Committee chairman to Minister on Local Plans

Posted on: 3 August 2016 at 17:00:21
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee has written to Gavin Barwell MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning about Local Plans.  Some searching questions are posed in the letter and follow the CLG Committee's examination of the recommendations of the Expert Group which proposed in March ways of improving the preparation of Local Plans.
It is hoped that the intended 'simplification' of borough Local Plans in London will not be overdone, as Council policies required by the London Plan are important. Site allocations are necessary also in some detail to give confidence to communities that development is well planned and will be acceptable, beneficial and sustainable.

Lords call for more housing in a significant report

Posted on: 17 July 2016 at 21:50:54
The Economic Affairs Select Committee of the House of Lords in its report published 15th July 2016 “Building more homes” (here) has stated that the Government's target of one million new homes by 2020 will not be enough.  300,000 homes each year must be built to tackle the housing crisis.

This is one of the most important post-Brexit reports on housing. The committee quotes Brandon Lewis (March 2016) "....we have not built enough homes in this country for many decades. We want to deliver homes across all tenures."  As London Forum has pointed out, that ambition was made more difficult by the Housing and Planning Act's introduction of 'Starter Homes' for purchase as a priority, being mandatory for part of every brownfield site, plus the enforced sale of social rented homes.
The committee opened its report's introduction with an extract from a Times' leader in 1969, "It is essential to have not only more houses, but more houses of the required type in the right place.  Housing has not yet achieved the place of priority in official policy that would be justified both by the social suffering involved and by the public concern that has been aroused." Another Times' article extract from almost forty years ago is included in the report's section 'Same old problems?' - "....there has been too much official action in the housing sphere that set out to help one category of householder, but turned out to cause new distortions in the wider pattern of housing provision … The general tendency of such policies has had the effect of assisting those who are already satisfactorily housed at the expense of those who are not."  The executive summary of the Peers' report echoes those points for today: "The Government is primarily focused on building for home ownership, neglecting housing for affordable and social rent."
The Select Committee has a key recommendation that "The Government must ensure local authorities who wish to build social housing have access to the funds to do so. The current restrictions on the ability of local authorities to borrow to build social housing are arbitrary and anomalous. Local authorities should be able to borrow to build social housing as they can for other purposes."

The report calls also for local authorities to be given the power to intervene when developments are not completed within a set time period.

London Forum's member societies should call their MP's attention to this House of Lords' report and ask them to take up the criticisms and recommendations with the Prime Minister, with Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and with Gavin Barwell MP, the Minister for Planning, Housing and for London.
Details for 'Building more homes' are here.
Another Lords Select Committee report, 'Building better places', published following extensive research in 2015, should be read with the report above.  It is by the National Policy for the Built Environment Committee and is here.

Vauxhall tower affordable homes reduced

Posted on: 15 July 2016 at 22:45:21
OURCITY.LONDON has published an article challenging the viability calculations for the Vauxhall Sky Gardens tower which has few affordable homes.

House of Lords calls for more housebuilding

Posted on: 15 July 2016 at 21:43:49
The Economic Affairs Select Committee of the House of Lords in its report “Building more homes” has strongly recommended that the Government must lift its target by 50% and build 300,000 homes each year to tackle the housing crisis.
Details and recommendations are at

MPs debate lack of affordable homes in London

Posted on: 2 July 2016 at 19:06:14
There was an important debate in Westminster Hall in June on this subject. London Forum members should consider what was said and discuss the situation with their own MP.
Many examples were given by MPs of the problems for key workers and those on low to medium incomes in finding a home which they can afford in London. There was much criticism of the Housing and Planning Bill's introduction of 'Starter Homes' as 'affordable' ones.
Concern was expressed about the adverse impact on London's businesses and its economy.
There was a response for the Government by Marcus Jones MP at the end of the debate with a commitment for Ministers to work with Mayor Sadiq Khan to build more homes in the capital.

Charity Commission guidance on the role of trustees

Posted on: 5 June 2016 at 16:12:45
See the Government publication on this subject here.

Developers offering managed Build to Rent schemes

Posted on: 5 June 2016 at 16:06:15
A developer is making a major move into Build to Rent development for the first time after agreeing a partnership to build 5,000 rental homes over five years as here.
That article from Inside Housing is one of several on the same subject on their web site
You may need to subscribe (free) to view all articles.

Housing and Planning Act and its implications (2)

Posted on: 5 June 2016 at 12:36:28
The Act can be seen here.
Further commentaries to those indicated in an earlier update below on its content are available here and here.

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