Full openness and transparency on Brick by Brick?
25/01/2018 15:42:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
'n a press announcement released on the 22nd January, the Council said:
'Developers in Croydon will now have the viability appraisal submitted as part of their planning applications made public.'
Cllr Alison Butler, Labour Cabinet member responsible, is quoted in the release as saying: “This is good news for Croydon residents. The publishing of these appraisals will make the council’s work with developers much more transparent and enables the public to hold both parties to account."
In that spirit of openness and transparency, I've asked if Cllr Butler will commit to implementing this policy retrospectively - and in particular agree to swiftly publish the full list of viability appraisals for all Brick by Brick schemes that have been already granted planning permission.
Update: 26th February 2018
Cllr Butler has replied:
'I welcome your support for having viability assessments made public but I am somewhat bemused by your reference to Brick by Brick. I appreciate your concern that developers may submit applications where they use ‘viability’ as an excuse not to provide affordable housing, so why you have chosen to target Brick by Brick, who are bringing forwarded levels of affordable housing beyond that which is required and far beyond the majority of developers submitting applications in Croydon, is a mystery.
The decision to make development viability assessments publically available was taken towards the end of 2017, in response to the Mayor of London’s Affordable Housing and Scheme Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance and our own desire to increase the transparency with such information and processes.
To maintain a level playing field, we decided not to publish viability reviews retrospectively (especially those relating to schemes where planning applications have been previously determined or where negotiations have reached an advanced stage). A number of recent applications for planning permission (submitted by Brick by Brick) include viability appraisals which seek to determine the most appropriate level of affordable housing and housing tenures and these can be viewed via the Council’s web site.'
So it appears she doesn't think that the housing company she created, and the planning permissions granted by her party-dominated Planning Committee, shouldn't have to publish the reports that tell the public if they have any prospect of being built.