Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity
By the time you read this, item 13 on Monday evening’s Full Council meeting will probably have happened. Martin has already shared a copy of the motion on “Building the Homes our Community Needs”, put forward by Lib Dem councillor Anton Georgiou, which deals with affordable housing, and whether Brent Council should make some of its New Council Homes shared ownership properties, rather than for letting at genuinely affordable rents.
It is certainly ‘an issue of relevance to Brent’, but the chances are that it won’t get a proper debate on the actual issues the motion raises. Although this is a meeting of all the councillors, who are supposed to represent the views of the residents in their Wards, across the borough, what will be played out is a game of party politics.
A small extract from the Labour Group amendment to Cllr. Georgiou’s motion.
When the agenda for the meeting was updated on Monday, it included an amendment to the motion by the Labour Group. The word ‘amendment’ is perhaps an understatement (see extract where red = Labour). Although I suspect that few Labour Group members were consulted over it (perhaps just the Leader and a couple of Cabinet members?), it is likely they will be “whipped” to support the many amendments, then to vote for the amended motion.
The amendments have been proposed to change the motion completely, so that it promotes the policies which the Cabinet adopted on 14 November. I set out many of these in a guest blog on 11 November, “Brent’s New Affordable Council Homes promises shredded!”, and Martin’s blog on 14 November, and comments on it, give a flavour of what happened when the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the “Update on the supply of New Affordable Homes” report, without any noticeable discussion of it.
One of the key issues in all this is whether Brent Council should “convert” some of the affordable housing it plans to build from the “genuinely affordable” London Affordable Rent to shared ownership homes. That is something which does need a proper debate, which it won’t get at a Brent Council meeting, so I’m offering this opportunity for you to have your say. Here are the two versions of the shared ownership issue, from the motion and the proposed amendment to it.
This Council believes: Shared Ownership schemes are not a ‘genuinely affordable’ housing model and are not something that should be promoted by Brent.
This Council resolves to: Ensure all new developments taking place on existing estates within our borough must be seeking to provide more Social Housing and not Shared Ownership or Market Sale units.
This Council believes: Shared Ownership schemes are not a top priority for Brent Council, but do form a valuable part of an overall housing mix, as they allow some people to get onto the housing ladder when they otherwise would not be able to afford a full deposit.
This Council resolves to: Continue to work with the GLA and DLUHC to secure the funding needed to ensure all new developments must seek to provide as much social housing as is financially viable.
If you have a view on whether Brent should provide some shared ownership homes, rather than those homes being for affordable rent to Council tenants, please share it in the comments below. Even if you are a member of a political party, please just give your personal views.
You can just “vote”, for Proposal 1 or Proposal 2, if you wish. You don’t have to give your reasons, although it would help to properly understand how Brent residents feel about this subject if you do.
You can comment as “Anonymous”, although if you do, it would help if you can give some indication of what angle your view is coming from. But please comment honestly, so that we can have a proper debate on ‘an issue of relevance to Brent.’ Thank you.
The Labour Group amendment was submitted by Cllr Shama Tatler, Kingsbury ward.
The full Labour Amendment in red and black is HERE,
Watching Full Council, it's full of prepared questions and pathetic answers. The best is listening to cllr Butt losing it yet again. Time he stood down.
Not in my back yard eh Butt? The council isn't actually there so you can use it for your convenience, benefit and your insane ideas on housing. It is actualy there for the residents of Brent and you should listen to them foir a change instead of calling them NIMBYs. You've made absolutely no difference to the housing waiting lists, oh sorry, you've managed to increase them haven't you, still you'll have made thousands of students happy to be housed in Brent rather than the central London, and thousands of residents unhappy because the tubes are alwys full. What a mess you're making of Brent Mr Butt.
Strange that Butt opposed the Libdem motion, its not that long ago he tried to join the Lidbems.
Dear Anonymous (21 November at 18.48)
Thank you for your comment, but I would really like this to be about shared ownership, please, and whether or not Brent Council should be providing that sort of housing "product" itself, rather than affordable rented homes, as part of its New Council Homes programme.
Shared Ownership is a form of tenant-landlord relationship.
I would favour Proposal 1 since Brent are constantly reminding us with ‘there’s a chronic shortage of affordable housing’ followed by the figures on the housing waiting list and those in temporary accommodation. Having watched the full council meeting on Monday all I can say is that Labour run Brent Council only says what they think we want to hear but then do what they want all the time. They say that shared ownership schemes are not a ‘genuinely affordable’ housing model and are not something that should be promoted by Brent.
Then they say that Brent Council want to ensure all new developments taking place on existing estates in their borough must be seeking to provide more Social Housing and not Shared Ownership or Market Sale units. But what are they doing right now; they are building NON social housing in all NEW DEVELOPMENTS that are not genuinely affordable and certain percentages are MARKET SALES UNITS. There needs to be clarity like Cllr Anton Georgiou has stated and there has to be some way of holding Labour run Brent accountable for their constant misleading actions on the residents of Brent.
As I said above, I would like to keep the comments to a proper debate about whether or not Brent Council should be building homes for shared ownership, rather than for genuinely affordable rent, please.
Proposal one should be the only option when it comes to estate infill. London Affordable Rent (LAR) is out of reach for a lot of residents who will not be able to afford to upsize or even downsize using the silly Local Lettings Policy as it’s over £60 a week rent increase either way. We’ll all be hearing in future about the poor kids whose families had to stay overcrowded because they couldn’t afford the further poverty of LAR under the Local lettings Policy. They are already creating two tier systems on estates with unaffordable LAR and existing residents becoming the 3rd class citizens of Brent. Shared Ownership should not be allowed in developments on existing estates. Fine the open market might be failing some people but that’s not the need that they put forward when seeking to award themselves planning or their reasoning in destroying neighbourhoods and green spaces and reducing play space for children to the lowest out of all London Boroughs is always about building new council homes. Some of the estates that they want to “convert” like Kilburn Square and Windmill Court I’d like to see them argue at planning that they are removing green spaces and trees because some people have been let down by the open market! Really!
Shared ownership is a myth, and does not exist.
Having purchased a supposed Shared Ownership property from Catalyst HA, in 2002 when I wished to sell (in 2012)I was not able to put my share on the open market. I was provided with 16 prospective buyers by Catalyst HA, who supposedly had been financially vetted to be able to afford/obtain a mortgage. I had 16 viewings, all wishing to purchase, and non materialised into a sale. After 18 months I was allowed to put on the open market with a reputable Estate Agent and sold outright within 2 months to a Cash Buyer, as Catalyst was an absolute nightmare to deal with.
It does not work, and only favours the HA/Council who take the money and run and have no regard for the tenants when increasing the rent portion, and Service Charges without actually providing a service.
Brent Council and it's HA partnerships should stick to build to rent at affordable/Social rates.
Awful! I don’t understand why Brent Labour are allowed to get away with what seems to be misleading the public. No-one really seems to care. I care!
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