BHHC Investigates

Housing At Social Rents

Kite place apartment block, yellow brick built in Whitehawk Brighton in 2017 .
Kite Place Brighton. 

For the past few years it has been claimed, in numerous reports to Brighton and Hove Housing Committee, it is not economically viable to build accommodation to let at Social Rents. Rarely are the reasons questioned by councillors and never properly challenged.

It may therefore be useful, as suggested to the Coalition by a member of the Housing Committee, to provide examples of initiatives that show it is perfectly feasible to ensure the availability of homes at Social Rent rather than property built for profit and private gain even within present economic and legislative constraints.

So lets look at Derwenthorpe (York)

This “‘exemplar’ case study in sustainable, mixed tenure communities”[1] is highlighted in the government Green Paper on Social Housing.[2]

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation states, “Social housing and its residents can often be stigmatised because of the way the tenure has been developed in the past – in easily identifiable, mono-tenure communities. We believe one of the most effective ways to avoid stigma in future is to locate social housing within mixed-tenure, tenure-blind communities, avoiding any place-based or tenure-related stigma.”

The site is 60% market sale, 40% social rent and shared ownership.

Freedom Of Information Request

What about in Manchester?

500 plots on small sites will be released to Registered Providers by March 2019 where at least a third of the homes built will be social rent and will be delivered in full by 2022.

The report also urges increase opportunities for older people to access appropriate accommodation, such as Extra Care, that meets their needs, which also helps to free up larger family homes and open them up to people in need on the housing register.

07.12 (2018) https://bit.ly/2QGMPqO

In the North East Teeside

In Teesside, all three boroughs – Middlesbrough, Stockton, and Redcar and Cleveland – have house building figures well in advance of government ambitions.

One example:

The target for Stockton says the borough needs to build 533 houses every year over the next decade.
The council’s own current target of 600 a year is already in excess of this.
Between 2007-08 to 2016-17, an average of 619 houses were built each year in Stockton – 117% of central government’s upcoming target.
In 2016-17 alone, 924 houses were built in the borough.

16.08 (2018) Teeside Gazzette Live https://bit.ly/2PNZG5s

London

• Beefed-up teams will help deliver Mayor’s trailblazing Building Council Homes for Londoners programme
• New resources will help councils push homebuilding after years of Government cuts

“The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is today launching a new £10m fund to beef up London councils’ housing and planning teams – decimated by Government cuts – and help boost their role building new homes in the capital.

Over the last eight years, central Government cuts have seen council budgets for planning and development fall by 50 per cent in London. This has held back housing growth, and particularly plans to build new council homes.

Sadiq’s new Homebuilding Capacity Fund will allow councils to bid for up to £750,000 each to boost their housing and planning teams. This could include hiring new staff to lead council homebuilding projects and develop new masterplans.

Bids will be considered that help to deliver:
  • A new generation of council homes;
  • More homes, including social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, on small sites;
  • Proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential; and
  • Optimal density across new residential developments in an area.

The Homebuilding Capacity Fund will work alongside other practical support that City Hall is providing to help councils build again. Earlier this week, Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray launched a new Council-Led Housing Forum, run by Future of London, to provide technical advice to practitioners involved
in council-led delivery of homes.

This support will help councils deliver their successful bids to the Mayor’s Building Council Homes for Londoners programme – the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated specifically to supporting council homebuilding.

The programme, launched in May this year, set out to help get 10,000 new council homes underway over the next four years. Bidding closed on September 30th, and initial allocations will be announced soon.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there is no easy solution – but we will only make progress if councils can take a lead in getting new homes built.

“In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year. However, these councils built only 2,500 homes over the last seven years, including 700 that were completed last year.

“Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from Government for far too long. My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won’t reverse those cuts – but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes.

“I am able to do this thanks to the business rates devolution deal between the capital and central Government – giving us more control to spend more money on the things that matter most to Londoners.”

19.10 (2018) London.gov.uk https://bit.ly/2BvOtBe

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said: “Boroughs are determined to help tackle the housing crisis by building a new generation of council houses for Londoners. Local government once led the way in housebuilding, but for too long we’ve been held back by unfair restrictions and underfunding imposed by central government. There is now growing recognition this needs to change.

“This support from the Mayor will help boost boroughs’ ability to deliver the homes our communities need. It’s a welcome development and boroughs will be keen to make good use of these much-needed resources.”

Nicola Mathers, Deputy CEO, Future of London, said: “The combination of Future of London’s Council-led Housing Forum, bringing local authorities together to share knowledge, the Mayor’s Homebuilding Capacity Fund to grow individual borough teams and the removal of the borrowing cap creates a huge opportunity to boost housing delivery. Following years of cuts, this is the catalyst to enable councils to realise their ambition.”

The Homebuilding Capacity Fund is being funded through the Business Rates Retention Pilot announced at last years’ Autumn Budget.

This sees the capital retain 100 per cent of any increase in business rate receipts above the Government’s baseline during the financial year 2018/2019.

Proposed Joint Venture Homes Residents Campaign in Whitehawk Brighton