Critics rap Boris over affordable homes deals
Housing associations will accuse the mayor of London of failing to stop councils dropping affordable homes from schemes in return for cash.
The G15 group of housing associations and the National Housing Federation will warn Boris Johnson that he has ignored the problem of developers shirking their planning obligations to build affordable homes, in a response to his revised housing strategy.
Under section 106 deals, councils agree to grant planning permission for housing schemes on the condition developers make specified contributions to the community. This often includes an obligation to build a specified number of affordable homes.
The G15 and National Housing Federation are concerned that some boroughs waive the developers’ commitment to onsite affordable homes in return for ‘commuted sums’ of cash, preventing mixed communities and reducing the number of affordable homes.
In the G15’s consultation response to the mayor’s revised housing strategy, the group calls on the mayor to define acceptable exceptions to onsite affordable housing obligations.
Cameron Watt, head of neighbourhoods at the National Housing Federation, agreed, adding ‘cash payments are a very poor substitute for proper support for affordable housing’.
Westminster Council received £78 million from developer Qatari Diar for reducing affordable housing on its Chelsea Barracks scheme last year from 224 to 123 homes, although the cash will go into a fund for homes elsewhere.
Elsewhere, Southwark Council accepted £22 million from developer CIT for being allowed not to include any affordable homes in its 173-home King’s Reach development.