Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Disappointing Scrutiny Committee discussion on Brent housing needs

The section of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee devoted to discussion on the Brent Housing programme has just finished. Given the importance of the subject it was disappointing.

 Most discussion centred on the infill housing programme which is additional housing built on existing estates on spare land or land freed by demolition of garages that have been allowed to run down.  There were attempts to clarify what was meant by 'affordable' (see my earlier post) that were not very successful.

There were no questions on the large amount of shared ownership housing planned across Brent.

The zoom sound  quality was not very good but recommendations adopted by the Committee included :

1. A request in any ward where infill housing is proposed housing should write to members (councillors) and draw their attention to the proposal.

2. Information on the different types of 'affordable' housing and the different levels of rent should be supplied to the Committee.

3. In future plans for any new-build site should include a community centre to develop greater community inclusion plus proposals on how they would be financed. If not on the site itself in the immediate neighbourhood.

4. A report on government plans to end Section 106 that has been used for housing and  the implications of its possible replacement by a new scheme.

During the discussion an officer commented that even social rent levels were not affordable for some people.  The council building itself ,rather than through developers, meant it could match provision more closely to local need. More older and single people had come forward for housing during the Covid period. Parking continued to be a problem on estates.

I think a more in-depth discussion is required in future on the issue - or perhaps a task group would do a more thorough job.

1 comment:

Jaine Lunn said...

I know of several households in Wembley where both parents work full time, and the children attend school full time including breakfast club and afterschool clubs and still have to claim Housing Benefit equivalent to £400 to meet the cost of rent. Very few properties are truly affordable for the masses.