Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched his first ‘Homes for Londoners’ conference, challenging the construction sector to build trust.
Khan made it clear his priority is council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable housing, and that development must win the support of Londoners.
“I’ll do everything I can to help, and I’ll continue to lobby government hard for the money London needs, but everyone has a role to play, and that includes developers,” said Khan
“My challenge to homebuilders is not to lose sight of their social responsibilities, and to redouble their efforts to provide the homes Londoners genuinely need,” he said.
The inaugural Homes for Londoners conference, held at the Royal Victoria Docks in Newham, will see more than 400 representatives from the housing sector come together to discuss Khan’s plans for more council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable housing in London.
The conference will feature panel discussions including how to engage with community groups, developing infrastructure, and maintaining high building quality standards – with a community representative on every panel alongside speakers from the private and public sectors.
Panel speakers include representatives from the Magpie Project (which supports mums and children in temporary accommodation), the volunteer-led community land trust RUSS, and the YIMBY London grassroots housing campaign.
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz will host a Q&A session with Khan.
“It’s significant that [the Mayor] is bringing so many leading housing experts to focus on the vital issue of genuinely affordable homes for Londoners,” said Fiaz.
“Across the capital, many councils are driving ambitious housebuilding programmes supported by grants from the GLA’s Building Council Homes for Londoners fund – a priority area because of the housing crisis facing all of us.”
“In Newham, we have more than 5,200 households in temporary accommodation and a housing waiting list of 27,000.
“That’s why we’re working to build good-quality sustainable homes and neighbourhoods, with our residents at the heart of it.
“And that’s what makes the Homes for Londoners conference so unique, because it brings people right into the heart of discussions on housing delivery in the capital and their vital role in shaping stable and socially integrated communities,” she said.
Students from Sarah Bonnell School, in Newham, will have the opportunity to present their ideas for the development of their local area.
The conference will focus on the Mayoral pledge to encourage Good Growth by Design, meaning new developments should benefit everyone who lives there and be environmentally sustainable, physically accessible, and sensitive to the local area.
There will also be opportunities for those from the industry to meet with representatives from London boroughs to discuss their property needs, as well as roundtables on areas including Build To Rent and tackling homelessness.
Last year, Khan’s City Hall started a record 14,544 affordable homes, including nearly 4,000 at social rent levels – more than in any year since City Hall took control of housing investment in the capital, and exceeding the target of 14,000 agreed with government ministers.
Last year, Khan launched ‘Building Council Homes for Londoners’ – the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to council homebuilding – announcing more than £1bn funding for 11,154 new council homes at social rent levels and a further 3,570 other homes, including those for London Living Rent.
The highest number of new council homes in London in 34 years were also started with City Hall’s support last year.
Homes for Londoners – They said it
Raji Hunjan, chair of the Mayor’s London Housing Panel:
“This is a bold and exciting opportunity for communities to come together with house builders and policy makers to have different conversations about the type of housing Londoners want and need.
“I hope by the end of the day we are jointly committed to putting People at the heart of housing strategy.”
Helen Evans, chair of the G15 network of housing associations and chief executive of Network Homes:
“The Homes for Londoners Conference is a great opportunity to promote partnership and collaboration across the housing sector.
“This co-operation will provide the good growth and range of genuinely affordable housing that the Capital needs.”
Adrian Hodgson, trustee of Custom House & Canning Town Community Renewal Project:
“It has been the long-term goal for the residents of Customs House to work collaboratively with the Mayor during the regeneration of Customs House. While the journey has been long, this goal is now a reality.
“Being asked to host the first Homes for Londoners conference shows the commitment the Mayor has shown to providing high quality homes with the residents at the very heart of the project.”