Wandle welcomes the Mayor of London’s draft Housing Strategy and many of the steps it sets out to tackle the capital’s housing crisis. We think that an affordable home is the key to a successful and fulfilling life and believe that many of the policies outlined in the strategy will help us in delivering much needed new homes.
The additional funding for affordable housing investment through to 2021 set out in the strategy and the Mayor’s commitment to lobby the Government for increased capital investment in new social housing is also welcome. We thank the Mayor for his work in helping secure a long-term rent settlement deal, which has provided us with much needed certainty to help us plan for the future. This certainty has allowed us to re-consider our business plan going forward and end the conversion of vacant social rented homes to “affordable rents” at 80% market rates, helping us ensure the affordability of our properties going forward.
Our Role to Play
We are pleased to note the draft strategy’s emphasis on diversification and hope that this confirms a commitment to an ongoing role for medium-sized, community-based providers like ourselves. We are committed, through our Corporate Plan, to diversifying our housing offer, and hope that the local expertise that organisations like ourselves have will be acknowledged in the final strategy. Organisations like us are well positioned to work with SMEs and local authorities to identify, acquire and develop small plots of land to deliver vital homes that meet the needs of local communities.
We urge the Mayor to use all his powers and influence to ensure that sites are made available for new truly affordable homes in South London. This should include building at higher density levels, ensuring that publicly owned land is set aside for social housing providers at less than market value, that planning obstacles are overcome and that private developers are obliged to make their affordable housing contributions under Section 106.
We have a corporate objective of identifying efficient designs which offer the best solutions in a growing and changing market, and starting work on innovative types of homes. We therefore welcome the Mayor’s focus on modernising the Capital’s construction industry and the investment on modern manufacturing approaches and skills, which in turn should help us achieve our aims.
We will continue to work with the Mayor and our local authority partners and look forward to helping make these plans a reality in future.