One of the most remarkable things about last week’s EiP on the Mayor’s proposed changes to the Plan was—on reflection—the London Boroughs’ vigorous defence of their capacity and need to develop social rented housing at low rents.
This had a procedural and a substantive dimension. They (Borough planning/housing people) had clearly been enraged by the Mayor’s team’s failure to cooperate effectively in the run-up to these Alterations and a group of Boroughs got together (and obtained counsel’s opinion on) an argument that the Duty to Co-operate should have applied and had been disregarded by the Mayor.
The substantive argument, advanced collectively for 9 boroughs by the Westminster rep and individually by reps from other boroughs, was that—despite all the impediments—boroughs were finding ways to secure the development of council housing or RSL housing which could be offered at or close to “Target Rents” (council housing rents), through creative use of council-owned land or assets or through cross-subsidy within mixed-tenure schemes, and that it was not the job of the London Plan to cramp or outlaw such innovations. They were vociferous that they would not develop housing which was not truly affordable to the actual groups of people they were determined to assist.
This was remarkable both because of the substantial evidence they presented and because the boroughs concerned crossed the political spectrum, including Westminster and Kensington+Chelsea as well as Camden, Islington, Southwark and… (Thanks to Paul for his comment below, completing the list.)
The relevant documents (though not yet the discussions) are all available on the EiP web site at
Final submissions – Matter 1 – non-housing issues – Monday 19th (including the issue on Duty to Co-operate)
Final submissions – Matter 2 – housing – Thursday 22nd (and items on Gypsies and Travellers and on Coops/trusts moved into Friday)
[Notes I made at the time on the EiP are in the previous post.]