- Created on 16 March 2016
Questions about the broken social housing promises in Southwark raised at the London Assembly.
Recent findings about housing provision in Southwark prompt number of questions to the Mayor.
Darren Johnson, Green Party AM, has, following findings by 35% campaign, asked the Mayor to clarify how he ensured the developers and housing associations delivered affordable homes specified in the planning agreements. One of the things 35% campaign found out is as follows: London & Quadrant (L&Q) were given a planning permission for a development in Peckham. This particular development included seven social housing units. Once the units were built, however, L&Q was charging rents between 74% and 78% of market rents.
Darren said, "It’s appalling that developers and housing associations try to water down affordable housing commitments made through the planning process. Far too little social housing is promised in the first place, so it’s an absolute scandal if those promises are being broken all over London and the Mayor is turning a blind eye. I want to get to the bottom of this to ensure promises are honoured in the future, because London needs all the social housing it can get.”
The question he asked the Mayor was "You publish annual detailed scheme and unit-level information about affordable housing on the GLA web site, accurate at the time that funding bids were agreed. What information do you request, post-completion, to check that homes have been provided with agreed rent levels?" to which he received the following answer (which doesn't actually answer the question but emphasises how good the GLA process is?!): "The GLA conducts an annual compliance audit of schemes completing under its affordable housing programmes. This verifies the agreed rents against the actual rents specified in the tenancy agreement for the home. The GLA Capital Funding Guide, which is published on the GLA website, sets out details of the compliance audit process and the checklists used to verify rental and other information post-completion. The GLA compliance audit process was subject to an internal audit in November 2014 and was found to offer substantial assurance."
Darren has now submitted two more questions:
Affordable housing - annual compliance audit (2); Question No: 2016/0985
Does the annual compliance audit of schemes completed under its affordable housing programmes take account of the tenure and rent levels entailed in the original section 106 agreements?
Affordable housing - grant process; Question No: 2016/0986
When the GLA considers applications from registered social landlords for affordable housing grants and loans for specific schemes, do officers cross-check the application's details with planning applications, in order to assess whether the RSL is meeting the conditions agreed in the section 106 agreement?
We will publish the answers when they become available.