M17 notes Housing Need 5 Feb

Warning: Just Space and UCL are trying to make available some sort of record of what happens in the EiP for the benefit of community members. Notes are being taken by postgraduate students and checked/edited so far as possible by more experienced staff and others. Neither Just Space nor UCL offers any guarantee of the accuracy of these notes. If you wish to depend on what was said at the EiP you should check with the speaker or with the audio recordings being made by the GLA. If you spot mistakes in these notes please help us to correct them by emailing m.edwards at ucl.ac.uk
For this day we had no note-taker so would especially value corrections and comments from those who were present.

Housing need & overall target

The Panel asked: M17. Is the need for 66,000 additional homes per year identified by the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) justified and has it been properly calculated for market and affordable housing having regard to national policy and guidance? In particular:
a) What weight, if any, should be given to the revised household projections published in September 2018?
b) What weight, if any, should be given to the potential impact of Brexit?
c) Has the Mayor adequately considered increasing the total housing figures in order to help deliver the required number of affordable homes in accordance with the PPG (ID 2a-029-20140306)?

James Gleeson (@geographyJim) is defending the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

Why is London method different from national model?  GLA defends backlog approach in which the demographic growth forecast then has extra ‘need’ added to represent catching up the accumulated backlog of under-provision (within which 78% is need for social rent). This differs from the NPPF which instead makes an arbitrary uplift for “market signals”. Various views expressed. Just Space supports the London backlog approach but notes that the phasing over 25 years is outrageous (and probably means the backlog would grow). More important still the social housing numbers & percent in the targets disregard the findings of the SHMA. 

Highbury expert group (Duncan Bowie) eloquent in support of this position, as is LTF.

Christine Whitehead LSE: the London approach better than national.  suppressed demand should be met.

James Stephens (HBF) strongly supports use of a standard national method of estimation. Consistency most important. GLA method is rather a black box.  Stephens:  “market signals” approach more focused on exclusion from owner-occupation, a key concern of government. Bowie: yes and that’s irrelevant for Londoners in housing need for whom owner-occupation is out of sight.

Some discussion of household formation rates and migration.

LTF argues migration misleading because so much of London’s need is exported through forced moves of hh displaced by LAs. Some discussion on this. GLA says that hh accepted by LAs as statutory homeless are included in the “backlog” whether they are housed in London or elsewhere.

CW/LSE  Stresses that hh formation needs to be approached carefully, taking account of turnover. Rapid churn has fewer households; new migrants take 10 years to adopt settled habits and form smaller households..

Bowie. We need more knowledge of migrations…  constrained choice, choice, compulsion.  Contradiction that compact city is supposed to meet London needs, but actually exporting so many people, with environmental and cost problems for people having to travel back to work. Understanding of migration motives etc has implications for bedroom size mix. If we assume that people who can afford it will all move out of London for adequate rooms. .  It’s a policy issue embedded in a technical process.

James Stephens:  latest projections of population/hh so much a reflection of policy failure, so would be a dereliction of duty to base the Plan on a projection of those trends.

Main outcome of the discussion on migration, brexit and household sizes is that the uncertainties are huge, alternatives should be explored, and the situation closely watched. Next SHMA envisaged by GLA to start in a couple of years. Govt submission today seeks a review of the #LondonPlan right away !! https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/m17_mhclg_2631.pdf … {note that they write this and then fail to show up and use their seat.)å

Inspector Smith asks why such a shift up in need for 1 and 2 bedroom flats since the previous SHMA and plan? Doesn’t get a good answer. 

New option now presented in GLA submission for table 13/5,  with different assumptions about under-occupation. Gleeson unwilling to choose, though original table 13  probably most likely. Strong support for the new alternative table to be the basis for the plan – expressed by Assembly Planning Committee (Nicky Gavron), JS, LTF, Highbury…

Paul Burnham (Just Space) urges need for housing need surveys- to establish income, savings, debt, ethnicity etc of those in housing need.Very evident in Tottenham, for example, that many (including  disproportionate BME, disabled, women-only hh) can’t possibly access the kinds of ‘affordable” housing requiring advance deposits or part-buy.

GLA responds that they have used data from English Housing Survey: 7-8000 London hh over the 3 years they have used.

Backlog:  Inspector says representations have stressed 25 years far too long.  Duncan Bowie (Highbury Group) stresses former MHLG guidance was to catch up in 5 years; first London Plan 2004 spread it over 10 years (the range of the housing targets) and then the Boris Johnson Plan spread it to 20 years. JS and LTF in strong support.

CW/LSE: we would all agree that 100% of the output should be “affordable” (what does this mean?  Out of context)

CPRE stresses political character of the backlog issue.

Should the #LondonPlan target be increased to get more “affordable” housing? Just Space and LTF arguing quite the reverse: the super-high housing targets drive all the damaging aspects of the whole Plan including estate demolitions which reduce social housing. Widespread agreement that building more housing in total does not produce more affordable housing. LTF has charts in their submission.  CW/LSE however argues that the two statistics move broadly up and down together.

This note pieced together afterwards by M Edwards. Corrections & amplifications specially welcome, either below or by email.

Back to main EiP narrative page

On to next day’s blog post M18 Housing strategy

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