Housing: not good enough

7 December 2017 Just Space is strongly critical of the Mayor’s draft London Housing Strategy. After much deliberation among member-groups, we have written to the Mayor/GLA with strong criticisms and suggestions on how to make it better. While the Mayor’s sentiments are mostly right, his actual proposals are in many cases feeble or plain wrong.  The Just Space response in full: JS response to Housing Strategy 2017

The Mayor expresses many fine ambitions and Just Space groups agree with most of them. However the detail of what is actually proposed is, in most cases, inadequate or could actually worsen the crisis which everyone agrees confronts London. Just Space has proposals which would strengthen the strategy.

We do not consider that the strategy can be finalised until the London Plan is finalised.

It is a widely held view among Just Space groups that London is being rapidly transformed to meet the needs of elites in the ‘global city’ framework and doing so at the expense of the diversity and community which we —and seemingly the Mayor— value so much and at the expense of the real economy. Comments on the Strategy are made in the spirit of wanting to re-balance these power relationships.

Key points are:

  • A welcome to the idea of a “London Model” for regulating the private rented sector and would like to work with City Hall on developing the idea.
  • The Mayor is not proposing to do nearly enough to stop the losses of inherited stocks of social housing and council housing through estate demolitions, Right to Buy and ‘conversion’ of social tenancies to inferior ones.
  • The proposals for new building envisage types of housing “products” which are described as “affordable” but which are not actually affordable to those in greatest housing need or even those on median incomes. Despite being constrained by national government, the Mayor could do much more to direct scarce public resources and planning gain provisions towards those in greater need. The use of public money to support middle-income shared ownership is wrong: it amounts to free gifts to an arbitrary group and could inflate land prices.
  • A top priority should be to limit the growth of land prices, or bring them down. There is more that the Mayor could do to bring this about.
  • Just Space also has strong recommendations on estate ‘regeneration’, landlord licensing, security and rent regulation for private tenants, community-led housing and the huge potential of tenants and residents organisations to inform policy development, the management of estates and a more genuine form of ‘regeneration’.

Submissions by other organisations

If your organisation has submitted views, please let us publish or link to your submission. Use the comment box below. Here is a collection of the submissions we have so far:

London Tenants Federation: LTF response draft London Housing Strategy 2017 and the attachment referred to within it: LTF VCS engagement proposal to the Mayor (F)

New Economics Foundation NEF: NEF response to MDHS

London Community Neighbourhood Co-operative: LCNC response to LHS

Leathermarket Joint Management Board (JMB) and Community Benefit Society (CBS), Bermondsey: LeathermarketJMB

LSE London group (link)

and comments beginning on the London Plan, starting here with Andrew Lainton, famous for his typos and energy.

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