Cllr Anton Georgiou addressed Brent Cabinet this morning on issues surrounding affordable housing in the borough and the New Council Homes Programme. Brent Council Leader, Muhammed Butt said the Council would come back to him with a detailed reply but said that he hoped that the council and its officers were not being accused of deliberately misleading the public. Cllr Butt went on to attack 'nimbies' who claimed to support council housing but opposed housing applications at Planning Committee meetings. As much of the opposition currently is from council tenants concerned about the detrimental impact of in-fill applications that is stretching the nimby label somewhat.
Cllr Georgiou's presentation:
Collectively our main objective must be to ensure that the Council are providing the homes our community needs, in doing so, reducing the growing housing waiting list in Brent and also reducing the number of people in temporary accommodation.
The demand for Council homes is significant and will likely grow in the coming months and years. Many will turn to Brent to assume their housing needs.
Whilst I welcome the update in the report presented to Cabinet this morning, entitled, ‘Update on the supply of New Affordable Homes’, I would specifically like to ask some points of clarification.
The report references 684 new Council homes, which is a different figure than the one provided by the Leader to Scrutiny last week. I believe you quoted 768 following questioning by myself, what does that figure refer to?
To the 684 homes referenced in the report, can Cabinet please confirm what these units consist of…
On Rent levels:
How many of the 684 are:
- at Council rent level
- at London affordable rent level
- at London housing allowance rent level
- how many are shared ownership
What kind of tenures do the 684 represent:
- how many are assisted living
- how many are temporary accommodation
- how many are social rent homes
- how many have shared ownership tenure
Further to that, are there any shared ownership homes within the HRA account?
If yes, how many please?
To shared ownership specifically…
The Report recommends the "conversion" of homes from London Affordable Rent level to Shared Ownership, but then further down at recommendation 2.8 states that the Cabinet, will agree to commission a report into Shared Ownership demand in the borough.
How can the report recommend conversion of London Affordable Rent to Shared Ownership without fully understanding the demand? Where is the evidence? Are these really the type of homes our community truly wants and needs?
It must also be noted that Shared Ownership is already being provided in significant numbers as part of the affordable housing component of many private developments in Brent.
Here are a few examples but not an exclusive list:
- Euro House ................................. 141 units
- Bridgewater Road ......................... 119 units
- Northwick Park Hospital ................ 111 units
- Alperton Bus Garage ...................... 98 units
- Abbey Manufacturing Estate ............ 66 units
- Watkin Road ................................. 61 units
These figures were all correct at the time of approval by the Planning Committee.
It is important to agree that Shared Ownership is not and never will be an affordable housing model. The umbrella term used by government is wholly inaccurate and I would go as far to say purposefully misleading.
There is no need for Brent to be considering a ‘shared ownership offer’ when it is fact that this housing model is in no way affordable to local people, or even potentially, what local people want. Many Alperton residents and others in Brent are already trapped in Shared Ownership schemes. It is a nightmare.
Therefore, I implore Cabinet to
- reject the recommendation to convert London Affordable Rent units to Shared Ownership
- to not allow developers to get away with using Shared Ownership to mask their failure to provide more genuinely affordable units
- and finally to not pursue a Brent Shared Ownership Offer without facts and evidence that there is demand for this type of housing in Brent. I for one do not believe there will be, if the true scam of Shared Ownership is explained to local people.