London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to use funding to help councils in the capital build 10,000 new homes over the next four years
Khan said he would ensure that some of the £1.67 billion given to the Greater London Authority in the government’s Spring Statement would be used to support local authority building programmes.
Councils will be allowed to bid for grant funding at a special rate, which he said should help them build homes at social rent levels.
I grew up on a council estate - I know first-hand the vital role social housing plays in London. That’s why today I’ve made money available to get councils building homes for Londoners again. pic.twitter.com/xVNAeO3XuH— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) 16 May 2018
Khan said: ‘I am offering councils expertise and resources from City Hall to scale up their homebuilding programmes, and I will help them to replace homes sold through Right to Buy.
‘The government is failing to enable councils to replace the hundreds of thousands of council homes sold through Right to Buy, and so I will do all I can to help councils replace as many of them as possible.’
In addition to the funding, the mayor said that his officials would offer support councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes with skills, expertise and resources.
Colm Lacey, chief executive of Brick by Brick, the development company established by Croydon Council, said the announcement was a ‘big step forward in addressing some of the structural issues with increasing council-led housing delivery’.
He added: ‘As ever, its success will be in its application, in particular ensuring that allocations are in proportion to genuine delivery potential.’
Mary Duggan Architects’s plans for a 157-home scheme in Lion Green Road, Coulsdon for Croydon Council’s own arms-length developer Brick by Brick
David Birkbeck, chief executive of Design for Homes, said that councils including Camden and Hackney were producing very high-quality council housing schemes.
‘These councils have talented planning teams working alongside people who know how to deliver well-designed housing,’ he said.
But he added that these high standards were not uniform across the capital and that much would rest on the amount of control councils took on projects through the procurement process.
In a comment on Twitter, Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said he was looking forward to working with the mayor to ensure some of the funding came to his borough.
‘Hackney Council is already building, but with the right support and freedoms we could do so much more,’ he wrote.
Sian Berry, Green Party member of the London Assemby and chair of its housing committee, said she was keen ‘to make sure that these grants go only to additional new council homes for Londoners, not replacements for homes being demolished as part of development schemes’.