Labour failing affordable housing pledge
06/07/2017 10:18:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
The 2014 Labour manifesto included a pledge to 'increase the proportion of affordable housing as a planning requirement of developers to a minimum of 30%'.
Croydon Council's own strategic policy document sets a target of 50% affordable housing in any development.
Indeed, Cllr Tony Newman, Labour Leader of Croydon Council has boasted many times that 'Croydon Labour is delivering 50% affordable housing'. Only it's not true.
I asked the Council for some information to get to the bottom of Cllr Newman's grandiose claim:
- How many housing developments have been approved by the planning department and committee since the new administration took office in May 2014?
- How many of those developments have had affordable housing of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent?
- What percentage of those development have an affordable housing provision of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent?
- How many developments approved since May 2014 have had any formal condition put upon them stipulating that 30-50 per cent affordable housing is required of them?
The reply I received was astonishing.
"In 2014 the affordable housing policy in the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies (adopted in 2013) was to negotiate up to 50% affordable housing on sites of 10 or more units, not all developments with a minimum requirement calculated using a financial model.
"This policy is being revised in the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies – Partial Review as the original policy and underlying model are not fit for purpose and as a result the Council is not currently able to maximise affordable housing. The new policy will still negotiate for up to 50% affordable housing on sites of 10 or more units but will also apply a fixed minimum requirement on sites across the borough of either 30% on site provision or 15% with either off-site provision or a commuted sum captured via a review mechanism."
So it appears their pledge is not worth the paper it's printed on. They say they want 50%, but when it comes to it the lowest they'll accept is 15%.
How many housing developments have Labour granted since they took office in 2014? 737. Of those, a mere 28 have some element of 'affordable housing'. That's less than 4%.
Of the 737 approved, only 25 have between 30 and 50% affordable housing. Less than 3.5%.
The Council also tells me that they have not put any formal condition on applications to stipulate they'd require 30-50% affordable, explaning it's instead secured through a s106 agreement.
For a Council boasting of its ability to construct 50% affordable housing, you'd think they'd have built a few more than they have to be able to backs up their boasts of success.
Sadly for our residents, many of whom are desperate to own their own homes, this is yet another example of spin over substance from our Labour Council.
While Cllr Newman and his Labour colleagues churn the propaganda machine and virtue-signal with a professional zeal unparalleled locally, the facts reveal an administration failing in its promises, failing its residents and misleading our borough.
With Labour's housing spokesperson recently revealing that they are refusing to build any more Council Homes, you have to ask yourself: do Croydon Labour really care about providing homes for our residents?
The evidence would suggest not.