Saturday, 28 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.’

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