For far too long Westminster Conservatives’ laissez-faire and overly cosy approach to private developments in our city have led to Westminster having one of the worst records in London on affordable housing. In the most recent official GLA statistics for ‘affordable’ house building Westminster averages a measly 12% (the 7th worst out of all London Boroughs and the City of London) despite the huge amounts of money going into property development in our city.
If elected to run Westminster on May 3rd 2018 Labour will put the Council’s relationship with developers on a much more businesslike and transparent basis, where the Council is absolutely focused on maximising the benefits for residents. Central to this approach will be action rather than mere rhetoric to ensure private developers contribute more to social and properly affordable housing than they have done under the 54 years of Conservative rule in Westminster.
A Labour Council would:
- Introduce the Mayor’s ‘Threshold Approach’ to viability to utilise the power of transparency to challenge abuse of the viability process. The council would use the power of publicity to encourage residents and experts to test and challenge developer viability assumptions.
- Set the threshold level at 40% affordable housing on private land. This will form the Council’s initial affordable housing target for private land.
- Reform the way land is valued in Westminster’s planning process to prevent developers overpaying for land and using it as an excuse not to provide affordable homes. We will base our approach on the Existing Use Value Plus model used by other Labour Councils.
Under Labour council officers would work pragmatically with developers to ensure they help deliver the social, Westminster Key Worker and other properly affordable homes Westminster needs.
Westminster Labour Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “For too long Westminster Tories have let the developers get away with not providing enough social and properly affordable housing. Labour is proposing radical but common sense steps to ensure that housing in Westminster can be for the many not just the few.”