Friday, 2 September 2011

Boris's new housing strategy targets overcrowding

London Mayor Boris JohnsonFollowing publication of the London Plan in July, London Mayor Boris Johnson has now published his revised London Housing Strategy for consultation with the London Assembly and GLA Group. The document focuses on those areas where there will be significant change from his 2010 strategy which set out investment plans for 2008-11.

Johnson claims that his strategy will "harness creativity" to increase housing supply in the capital and "offer greater choice and mobility for all Londoners".

One of the key issues it seeks to address is overcrowding. Building on the London Overcrowding Action Plan published last year, it sets a target to halve the level of severe overcrowding in social rented housing to 7,000 by 2016. Strategies to achieve this goal include:
  • prioritising underoccupiers and tenants in work for the pan-London mobility scheme which should be in place by early 2012
  • a Londonwide goal for half of all new affordable homes to be family-sized
  • a target for at least 8,000 underoccupier moves by 2016
The strategy also sets a target of 13,200 affordable home completions a year and the provision of more than 17,000 First Step homes by 2015. First Steps is the Mayor’s programme to help low and modest income Londoners access home ownership, and is to give greater priority to people from the armed forces.

From 1 April 2012 the Mayor will be directly responsible for strategic housing, regeneration and economic development in the capital. He plans to set up a new Housing and Regeneration Directorate in the GLA, merging the housing and regeneration roles of the HCA, GLA and LDA.

Johnson's strategy has been criticised by his political opponents. Writing in the Guardian, London Assembly's Labour Group spokesperson for housing and planning Nicky Gavron says the new build target is too low. She claims that the scrapping of the London-wide target that 50% of all new residential developments across London should be affordable will lead to social segregation on an unprecedented scale. 

However Johnson's housing adviser, Richard Blakeway has robustly denied these claims calling them, "entirely unfounded".

1 comment:

  1. Inside Housing reports that Richard Blakeway, the Mayoral Advisor for Housing, said representatives from the National Health Service and homelessness charities could sit alongside councils and social landlords on a new board to monitor overcrowding in the capital.