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London Forum Updates

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London Councils - school shortfall and apprenticeships


Posted on: 30 September 2016 at 13:10:29
London Councils, which represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London, has published a report 'Do the Maths' identifying the need for more schools and the funding that will be required up to 2022.
Details are here.
London Councils has criticised the Government's apprenticeship plans, calling them unrealistic. See here.


Mayor's plans for new homes


Posted on: 24 September 2016 at 23:25:22
Sadiq Khan has launched a policy to provide homes at a 'London Living Rent' for those on low incomes.
The Mayor has set up a 'Homes for London' unit with a team to assist in viability assessments.
However, a recent press report indicates that the Mayor may not have secured social rented homes in a new Barking Riverside development.


Assembly Transport Committee question Val Shawcross


Posted on: 12 August 2016 at 19:54:06
A very interesting transcript is here of the Assembly discussions on 13th July 2016 with the new Deputy Mayor for Transport.  It covers subjects that will be taken into account by Transport for London for their future projects and policies and for the Mayor's Transport Strategy.  The document can be word searched for topics.  The Assembly raised points on road tunnels, noise from Night Tube trains, pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and many other subjects that TfL will be considering for their business plan.


Lobbying and campaigning by charities


Posted on: 12 August 2016 at 19:44:46
A briefing report on this subject has been published by the House of Lords library.
There is also a Government consultation on official warnings to charities and trustees with a closing date of 23rd September 2016.


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 http://bit.ly/29JNkHj

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