Today is the second session of this week’s Examination in Public for the Mayor’s proposed changes to the London Plan, known as the Revised Early Minor Alterations, and will focus on housing. I have been speaking, at different points, on behalf of the Assembly’s Planning Committee and the Labour group. And let’s hope the Inspector takes my views, and that of other participants, into account. Because this is the last opportunity to raise fundamental questions about the future of London’s housing.
The Mayor’s changes to the London Plan would mean no less than the death of new social rented and family housing in London.
Under the current funding regime social housing is not currently delivered by the Mayor, but by the 32 London Boroughs. Under the proposals being reviewed by the independent inspector at today’s EiP, Boris is trying to stop developers and housing providers from building social rented housing. He is attempting to do this by preventing social rented housing from being included in each of the 32 London Borough’s plans.
This is an important day for the future of London. The Mayor is attempting to use his planning powers to block the building of social rented housing in the capital.
Boris has already said he will give no money to build new social rented housing. It is an utter disgrace that he is trying to use the planning system to block local councils from finding ways of funding future social housing building. At a time when over 200,000 people are on social housing waiting lists in London, the Mayor is abandoning them.
The changes to the London Plan are also symbolic of the ease with which the Mayor rides roughshod over the will of local communities. Johnson’s failure to build enough affordable housing is bad enough, but now he’s going around and telling local councils that they can’t even try to make up the difference. I couldn’t think of a more direct attack on localism and giving local communities the power to decide what happens in their area.
Does he simply not understand the pressure many families are under at the moment? We need more social housing not less. Many Londoners, especially those in lower paid jobs and pensioners need social housing, otherwise we will find ourselves with Paris style outer-city ghettos. Do we really want that here? The Mayor’s policies will hit low income families hard and dismantle mixed communities. He is exacerbating the runaway housing crisis that is driving up the cost of living in the capital.
Today, I will be making these arguments in front of the independent inspector. Let’s hope he takes my points on board. Or else it really could be the end of building social rented housing in London.