Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Mayor to fight council’s social housing plans

Boris Johnson will formally object to a Labour-led council’s plan to reject the £1.8 billion affordable homes programme.

Islington Council has grabbed the headlines by refusing to allow housing associations to charge rents at up to 80 per cent of market rent in return for development cash under the programme. Instead, it plans to make public land available to housing associations so they can build homes for social rent without grant.

However, the mayor of London is understood to be unhappy with Islington’s position. A source close to city hall confirmed the mayor is likely to object to Islington’s policy when it comes before the planning inspectorate on the grounds it contravenes the London Plan and is out of step with national policy.

James Murray, cabinet member for housing at Islington, told a conference earlier this month that rents at up to 80 per cent would not be affordable for the borough’s residents. Mr Murray said council officers had experienced people refusing housing association homes because they are worried about not being able to afford the rent.

He said: ‘People are reluctant to move into new homes even if they suit their needs.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • Joe Halewood

    Can somebody please remind me is this the same Boris Johnson who overturned the democratic wishes of another London council which has banned a large scale development in its borough a few years ago.

    I recall it concerned a massive development of PRIVATE housing, a tower block from memory, that had been refused planning permission on numerous occasions right at the heart of a (Labour run?) London borough and Boris intervened to give it the go-ahead?

    Aside from that is Boris showing here that his parties flagship policy known as "Localism" really shorthand for do as we say not do as you want?

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  • So, on the one hand Boris says that the housing benefit cap is "social cleansing" because it could make tens of thousands homeless and at the same time he is against affordable housing which will keep Londoners from being evicted due to arrrears?

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  • Gavin Rider

    Come on, Boris - this is what LOCALISM means! If Islington want to do things their own way, who are you to tell them they are wrong?

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  • That is the problem with democracy, people tend to do things that gains the consent of the majority and that anger the naturally centralist who would be happier ruling a more honest form of dictatorship.

    Perhaps the Minister for Localism will slap Boris down, but I doubt he would wish to risk his political career with such a stand against such an expression of true Tory policy from the power behind the throne.

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