Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity
I have watched and listened to the webcast of the Planning Committee meeting for the Rokesby Place application, so can now comment on the information given by the Planning Officer about the difference between the levels of Social Rent and London Affordable Rent.
The figure she gave for London Affordable Rent, for 2022/23 for a 4-bedroom house, was £198.03 a week. This comes from the table published by the GLA on the Mayor of London's website.
London Affordable Rent from GLA website
The figure she gave for Social Rent, for 2022/23 for a 4-bedroom home, was £183.18 a week. This figure comes from the Government's website on social housing controls, and is the MAXIMUM that can be charged as Social Rent for a home of this size.
Social Rent caps for 2022-23 from the Government rent standards website
This gives the around 8% difference between Social Rent and LAR which Planning Committee were told.
If the Planning Officer had used the latest London local council average Social Rent figure from the GLA affordable rents table (2020/21), uprated by the statutory maximum annual increases (2021/22 = 1.5%, 2022/23 = 4.1%), the comparative Social Rent for a 4-bedroom home would be £147.75 a week. That's over a £50 a week difference!
What conclusion can we draw from this?
Do Brent Council intend that any new homes they build for Social Rent will be for the maximum Social Rent level allowed by the Government?
Or do they take the view "why not make them all London Affordable Rent?", and charge tenants an extra 8% for their homes, but still claim they are providing genuinely affordable housing to Brent residents in housing need?