Election: Redbridge Council, we need affordable homes

Redbridge is a well decent place to live. But it hasn’t prioritised housing. I’m not really sure why.

Shelter has integrated local housing datasets borough by borough. From the results for Redbridge in 2009:

  • You would have to earn £53,502 per year to afford to buy an average-priced house in the area; the average gross annual income is £28,257
  • 362 households are acknowledged to be homeless in the area, and there are 13,969 households on the waiting list for affordable housing – at current letting rates this will take 32.41 years to clear.
  • There were only 431 lettings made to new social tenants. 2,310 households are in temporary accommodation.
  • Independent experts say the area needs to build 999 homes per year. Redbridge council planned for 171 new affordable homes to be provided in the area last year, less than the number of new affordable homes needed.
  • An average of 403 new affordable homes were provided in the area in each of the last three years, meeting Redbridge council’s plans, but failing to match the annual level of affordable homes needed.
  • The number of homes in Redbridge is increasing at an annual rate of 5.1 for every thousand already existing.
  • Redbridge’s population density is 4,567 (this incidentally is in the same ONS band as Barking and Dagenham next door, and lower than either Waltham Forest to the West and Newham to the South).

Shelter’s proposals for creative ways to deliver new housing stock in an economic downturn:

  • Governments and Councils should sell public sector land at below market prices if it will be used to build affordable housing
  • Encourage landowners to take a longer-term view of land value, e.g. by leasing land to developers but delaying payment until the housing stock is sold
  • Splitting up larger sites to avoid cash flow problems
  • Encourage the building of affordable housing on smaller sites, and certainly on developments of 15 units or more
  • Being creative about other sources of local funding, including removing the council tax discount for second home owners

To come: a cruise through Council minutes; the role of local residents in influencing whether or not planning permission is granted; the activities of the Homes and Communities Agency; what the Party manifestos say; rental; what else does a council have to plan for when new homes are built?

Council candidates can be checked out at Redbridge-i – click on Election 2010 or go straight to the wards page.

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