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London Forum Updates

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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.

Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16

Posted on: 30 October 2015 at 23:40:52
A briefing paper on this Bill was prepared by London Forum to identify the problems that it would introduce in its current form for the economy of London and for the delivery of affordable homes in the capital.
Following the second reading of the Bill on 2nd November 2015, London Forum issued an update. 
London Forum's member societies are urged to speak with their MP about the identified issues and ask them to object to them during the debates in the House of Commons and the work of the Bill Committee, for which the timetable is here.

Housing density

Posted on: 22 August 2015 at 13:33:24
London Forum has objected to the way the London Plan's housing density standards are being weakened by words in the Mayor's draft SPG on Housing.
The points made are here.
London Forum's members are asked to report developments with housing densities above the range appropriate for a site as determined by the London Plan's density matrix here.

Wifi in Public Libraries in England

Posted on: 17 August 2015 at 15:08:27
Funds are available to achieve wifi in libraries.
   see here.

Briefing on the 'Right to Participate'

Posted on: 16 August 2015 at 20:08:41
A paper on this subject has been published by Friends of the Earth.

'Planning' reports London Forum's policy change alert

Posted on: 14 August 2015 at 21:00:33
The magazine Planning has an article in the issue for 14th August 2015 which reports London Forum's publicity and intervention which resulted in the deferment of proposals by the Government to extend permitted development of offices to residential accommodation. The changes were not announced before Parliament's Summer recess, as expected, and should now be able to be debated by MPs when next proposed. The harm the policy has caused so far has been publicised by London Forum and there is now opportunity for local authorities to introduce some safeguards to protect business from loss of offices, as the article describes.
There is another article here in Planning which describes the lack of information on progress and benefits from the release of public sector land for development.
A problem could be the proposal by Government on page 45 of the publication 'Fixing the Foundations' to make development of brownfield sites permitted development. That would deprive local authorities and communities of the right to determine what is built on such land.
The changes made by the last Government here will need to be monitored for the effect they will have.

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