Thames Barrage

London Forum Updates

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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.

Setting the record straight on housing subsidy

Posted on: 9 November 2015 at 12:04:37
The paper here on this subject has been produced by the London Tenants Federation.

  • Housing benefit is now totalling over £25 billion pa, 38% claimed by private renters.

  • Only one affordable rent home has been built for every six social-rented sold.

  • The lack of social-rented homes is increasing the housing benefit bill sharply.

  • Social housing rents are not subsidised.

  • Council tenants rents have to service a £7.6 billion part of the national debt.

  • Buy-to-let owners have received significant tax relief.

The Housing and Planning Bill does not seem to address the need for more homes to rent that are affordable to people on low wages.

Measures to tackle rogue HMO landlords and overcrowding

Posted on: 6 November 2015 at 16:31:06
New measures that will clamp down on criminal landlords who trap and cram vulnerable tenants in unsafe, overcrowded homes have been announced for consultation until December 18th by the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP. The proposals intend to make it easier for local authorities to raise standards in houses used as shared homes.
new discussion paper sets out plans to improve standards of England’s shared homes by extending mandatory licensing to smaller and medium sized properties. Where a landlord fails to obtain a licence they are liable to pay a potentially unlimited fine.

Housing Associations are not building enough homes

Posted on: 6 November 2015 at 16:03:33
There has been a Channel 4 investigation on this subject and a report in the Spectator.
It is claimed that the cost of building homes by many Housing Associations is higher than that of other developers. Also, Housing Aassociations have delivered just 26,000 net new homes a year between 2000-2014 - half the amount required, writes Channel 4 News Business Correspondent Helia Ebrahimi. That is despite taking £62bn in funding, as well as taxpayer-funded rent drawn from housing benefit, according to a Channel 4 News investigation.
Details and a link to the TV programme are here.

Mayor launches action plan to avert major flooding risk

Posted on: 5 November 2015 at 16:50:22
The Mayor Boris Johnson, in partnership with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and London Councils today published the first London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan for consultation, identifying potential flooding hotspots across the city and proposing innovative ways of diverting rain back from the sewers into the soil - see here.

Open Spaces newsletter and concern about footpaths

Posted on: 5 November 2015 at 16:43:24
The Open Spaces Society has voiced its fears that the Welsh Government’s dismissal of the historic and cultural value of public paths could spread to England.
See their Autumn 2015 newsletter here with details.

Housing homeless people outside London

Posted on: 31 October 2015 at 21:46:24
London boroughs are set to agree on fixed maximum sums for incentivising private landlords outside the capital to let to homeless families, in response to councils' concerns.  See here.

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