Hard-hit by the housing crisis, a London borough has backed building more than 1,000 new homes over the next three years – with the Mayor making it personal.
Newham Council is embarking on its most ambitious Council-led new-build housing programme in the last 40 years, establishing it as one of the key players in delivering the homes across the borough.
This week, the council’s cabinet approved the delivery of 1,056 new-build homes at social rented levels started by 2022.
Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has housing as a priority, with her family having spent eight years in temporary accommodation and ‘sofa-surfing’.
“We are ready to disrupt an already broken housing delivery model and system.
“This decision is symbolic of councils now being in the driving seat, responding to the needs of their residents and actually building something that we need to consider as a basic human right – a roof over your head,” she said.
The proposals report would lead to an indicative number of 1,427 homes being commenced by 2022, of which 1,056 would be at social rent levels.
An HRA capital programme agreed by Council in February included £223m for new homes over three years – with sufficient provision to meet costs over the current financial year.
As of March this year, Newham had 27,600 on its housing register and 5,200 households in temporary accommodation as at March 2019.
The cost of housing is a major factor with 49% of households in the borough defined as living in poverty.
Newham has also lost more than 10,000 council homes under Right to Buy.
As a Mayoral priority, the 1,000 homes require a mix of funding including grant, HRA borrowing, HRA reserves, S106, Right-to-Buy receipts and cross-subsidy from further new-build homes including those for sale, market rent and Shared Ownership.
There are four main tranches of new homes delivery under the Affordable Homes for Newham programme:
- Affordable Homes Programme
- Estate regeneration initiatives
- Red Door Ventures: The Council’s wholly owned company delivering PRS-led housing and projects currently being repurposed to deliver 50% genuinely affordable rented homes
- Acquisitions of new homes from third parties
As part of the programme around a further 400 homes will be developed for other tenures in order to help to cross-subsidise the social-rented homes. and provide for mixed and balanced communities.
The Council has confirmed it will “seek out” opportunities to exceed the 1,000 homes target and is negotiating with the GLA an approach that would allow for this.
And the programme includes delivery on identified Council-owned sites currently occupied by garages or other non-residential uses or sites already scheduled for redevelopment.
It will be supported by the £107m of grant secured from the GLA in 2018 as well as Right to Buy receipts if required.
The programme has been developed with consideration for the ongoing financial resilience of the Council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
This allows for increased investment in existing homes and neighbourhoods, acquisitions of homes from third parties, and potential participation in the future development of the Council’s strategic regeneration initiatives – most of which would take place after 2022.