For decades Boris Johnson’s Conservatives here in Westminster have presided over a massive decline in the number of Council homes or other types of housing people can actually afford. At the same time, they have been notorious for waving through major luxury developments that haven’t contributed their fair share towards supporting local residents.
If Labour win on May 5th, our commitment to build a fairer Westminster literally means building more Council (social) and key worker homes to give our residents a future in Westminster, making it our top priority.
Labour will make a wide range of key reforms including:
- Conducting a day-one audit of all current regeneration and infill programmes to increase the amount of social and truly affordable rented housing they provide and improve the proportion of affordable housing that is for social rent;
- Introducing an urgent Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and a new City Plan to make more of homes built in Westminster ones that we need. This will:
- Raise the proportion of affordable housing Westminster delivers from private developments using best practice from across London;
- Create a requirement for a ‘small sites’ affordable contribution to make high value developments that are under 10 units contribute to affordable housing;
- Restore the requirement for at least 60% of affordable housing built in Westminster to be for social rent (with 70% on public land) to tackle the horrendous waiting lists;
- Ensure any new intermediate housing provided on public land is at or below the London Living Rent (LLR) with rent caps on what is built on the private land;
- Create a new type of ‘Westminster Key Worker Homes’ on Council-owned land that are affordable to long-term residents and key workers on average incomes or less.;
- Ensure any Council regeneration programme fully replaces any demolished Council homes and ensures that at least 50% of any additional homes built are affordable;
- Ensure that Council regeneration schemes are subject to a proper residents’ ballot with all residents having the right to return or move straight to a new home;
- Demolition will no longer be the first or only option for regeneration schemes. Reuse and retrofit options will always be fully considered using a ‘retrofit test’.
- Setting up an expert Westminster Housing Review that will find new ways to build more social and truly affordable housing;
- No Council-owned home will be sold at auction except in exceptional circumstances;
- Build more family-sized social and truly affordable homes;
- Any homes for sale that are built on Council-owned land should be made available first to local people, rather than initially marketed to international investors;
- Stop building or buying homes for permanent tenancies outside Westminster. Instead buy-back local homes using Council funds and the Mayor of London’s Right-to-buy-back scheme;
- Support community build schemes, modular and non-conventional types of house-building to find innovative ways to tackle the housing crisis on small or unusual sites.
For more details see our manifesto here: Manifesto – Labour’s Plan for a Fairer Westminster – Westminster Labour Councillors – Westminster Labour
Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said, “With over four thousand families on the housing waiting list, from day one Labour will drive through urgent changes needed to increase the supply of social and properly affordable housing.”
Westminster Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Regeneration Cllr Matt Noble said, “We will leave no stone unturned to build the housing Westminster residents need.”