The Mayor of Newham has presented a bold statement setting out a blueprint to tackle the borough’s housing crisis by building thousands of genuinely affordable homes.
The Mayor is puttting residents at the heart of housing delivery.
The statement was approved at a meeting of the Cabinet last night (Thursday 15 November) and is the first part of a wider strategy detailing how the council will transform housing. This will be done through building more homes, challenging the government on its damaging policies and shifting towards housing delivery centred on affordability with proper involvement of residents.
Residents will play a key role in any proposals for their local area. New opportunities will be created for local people to influence plans including the Mayor’s Citizen’s assemblies, ballots, interactive focus groups, drop-in sessions and site walkabouts.
Since the election in May, the Mayor has already made significant progress in transforming housing in Newham. Last month, she announced the borough had received the highest grant of any London council - £107 million – for affordable housing from the Mayor of London through the Building Council Homes for Londoners programme. This will support the construction of 1,100 new homes that are genuinely affordable for residents. So far, 46 council owned sites have been identified which will provide more than 1,000 homes. All of the homes will be started by the end of the Mayoral term in 2022.
The council is already on course to build over 100 homes this year with 71 at the Brian Didsbury Centre in Wall End, nine at Doherty Road in Canning Town, 11 at Wordsworth Avenue in East Ham, five at Stracey Road in Forest Gate and seven at Romford Road in Manor Park.
To deliver further new homes, the council will focus on building, acquiring and securing new homes. Further assessments will be carried out to determine what types, tenures and sizes of housing are required to meet the needs of residents.
The council will also accelerate its house improvement and building programme funded through Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing. Development proposals for one of these council sites received the green light last night at Cabinet. The site on Plashet Road in Plaistow will see the creation of 55 affordable homes, 27 of which will be available at social rent funded through the HRA. The same development will also include community space and a nursery. Plans for the site were remodelled from original proposals to increase the number of genuinely affordable homes in line with the Mayor’s housing pledge.
Mayor Fiaz said: “Having a home is a basic need and secure housing is a fundamental foundation for people in their lives. The lack of decent, habitable and affordable homes has wide-ranging consequences to people, their families and our communities. In Newham, our residents are bearing the brunt of the country’s housing crisis and for too long there has been a failure to fully respond to the root of this problem. That’s why I’ve made it my priority to tackle head on the housing crisis we are facing in Newham, to show our residents we are listening and will take action.
“This statement is the first chapter in transforming housing delivery in Newham. The housing crisis requires an approach that genuinely improves our residents lives for the better. Crucially we have to champion the voice of local people as we redefine our approach to housing so we can better respond to their needs and the needs of our entire borough. I look forward to working with our local residents on shaping our borough together.”
The delivery of all new homes will be funded through a combination of prudential borrowing, capital receipts, grants and Section 106 contributions.
Challenging the government on some of their policies relating to housing will underpin the statement to support the work carried out locally. The Mayor has called for an end to Right to Buy which takes thousands of social homes out of the public purse. She has also called for more government funding for local authorities to build the homes they desperately need. The council will campaign to change legislation on these issues and highlight how the government is hindering councils to tackle the housing crisis.