Newham Council to bid for over £100 million in funding to build new council homes

6 September 2018 in Housing and Mayor
Ambitious plans have been approved by Newham Council to bid for up to £150million of Greater London Authority (GLA) and government funding, which will enable Newham Council to build approximately 1,000  homes for residents, and engage with the GLA for additional funding as new opportunities arise.
At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and councillors gave the green light for a number of bids to be submitted which will support the delivery of a significant house building programme.

The first bid is for £108 million from the GLA’s Building Council Homes for Londoners with potential to increase this to up to £150m. This will be submitted together with a parallel request to use up to £62m of receipts from homes sold under the Right to Buy.

The Mayor of London has set the capital’s highest ever target for building new homes in the draft London Plan – 65,000 new homes each year of which 50 per cent should be affordable. Newham’s share of this target is 3,850 new homes per year.

The council will also be asking the government and GLA for additional Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing headroom. In July 2018, the GLA published an addendum to the Building Council Homes for Londoners prospectus setting out how councils could bid for a £500million share of additional HRA headroom to support the development of new homes. A Newham bid of up to £53m is also being prepared to supplement the new build ambitions.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “I am committed to finding a solution to the lack of genuinely affordable housing for residents in Newham so that they are able to stay in the borough that they call home, With more than 24,000 people on our waiting list and 6,000 homeless households in temporary and emergency accommodation, it is critical that we maximise all funding opportunities available so that we can build as many new genuinely affordable homes as possible including at social rent levels.

“These bids will help us to deliver a substantial proportion of the homes I promised to our residents when I stood for election back in May. I am also determined to use our Right to Buy receipts to correct the unfair measures which means we are losing social homes at such at a rapid rate. I will do all I can to accelerate house building in Newham so we can tackle the housing crisis facing our Borough and the rest of London.”

If successful, these bids would provide a significant and critical proportion of the funding required to achieving the mayoral priority of delivering 1,000 new homes at social rents over the next four years and to tackle homelessness across the borough. Both bids need to be submitted to the GLA by 30 September 2018 with announcements of successful bids due in the autumn.

An Affordable Homes for Newham programme has been established and was approved by the council’s Strategic Investment Board in July 2018.

The council’s submission to the GLA identifies a minimum of 46 sites in Newham within council ownership which would attract around £108million of grant at tariff rates of £100,000 per unit of social rent. This “green list”  of sites will deliver 2,100 new homes of which 1,056 will be at or below London Affordable rent levels, with a further 94 homes being shared ownership.

The indicative sites have been selected from a range of existing council owned sites earmarked for regeneration schemes that will be ready to start on site by 2022 deadline.

The council is exploring using its Right to Buy receipts policy to support tackling its homelessness and temporary accommodation needs This is will ensure that the new housing offer in Newham provides opportunities for those families who feel left behind and marginalised. With funding from a £62million of funding for a Temporary Accommodation Delivery Programme.

This sea- change in policy is the first of a number of key reports that will be presented to Newham’s Cabinet to support affordable housing delivery and the Mayor’s Housing Delivery Plan for 2018/19.