IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Developers must be forced to stick by affordable housing pledges

19 October, 2018

At the centre of a court battle: former Territorial Army site in Holloway

• ISLINGTON Homes for All welcomes the statement from City Hall’s deputy mayor for housing James Murray and Islington Council calling for clear guidance to help secure genuinely affordable homes. This is definitely a move in the right direction.

Viability assessments have indeed been used by developers as smokescreens, enabling them to renege on previous commitments to provide genuinely affordable housing, as part of the planning permissions that they have been awarded.

Too often, as in the notorious case of the Heygate development in Southwark, developers make promises in order to get planning permissions, only to row back on these promises, claiming that the development in question would no longer be viable unless they are allowed to reduce the amount of genuinely affordable housing.

Islington Council has rightly and effectively challenged this type of behaviour, winning a landmark case over the proposed development of the former Territorial Army site in Parkhurst Road, Holloway. So Islington Homes for All supports the call for changes in the way these viability assessments are to be used.

While this represents an important step forward though, Islington Homes for All will be continuing to campaign for the wider policy changes needed to address the housing crisis and to provide secure and genuinely affordable social housing for all.

These essential changes include an end to right-to-buy – otherwise new council homes could be sold off subsequently, making a mockery of government promises to enable councils to increase the supply of council housing.

Most importantly too, there need to be restrictions on the sale of public land, which should never be sold off to private developers if developments to meet social need could be produced instead.

MARJORIE MAYO
Islington Homes for All 

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