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Mayor of Hackney says City Hall plans to tackle housing crisis are good news - but government must follow suit

PUBLISHED: 17:08 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:23 22 September 2017

Mayor of Hackney, Cllr Philip Glanville, says City Hall's plans for tackling the housing crisis could be good news for Hackney. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney Council

Mayor of Hackney, Cllr Philip Glanville, says City Hall's plans for tackling the housing crisis could be good news for Hackney. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney Council

Gary Manhine: 07989 418 474 gary@manhinephoto.co.uk

A new strategy to help tackle the housing crisis in London was unveiled by Mayor Sadiq Khan last week. But will it help or hinder efforts to bring vitally needed affordable homes to Hackney? We asked the Mayor of Hackney for his views.

Cllr Philip Glanville told the Gazette the new draft housing policy - which includes £250million earmarked for land to build new affordable homes - could be great news for Hackney.

But he stressed the government must now follow in City Hall’s footsteps and take steps to tackle the acute housing crisis in the capital.

Here, Cllr Glanville explains why he believes Hackney will benefit from the plans.

“With 13,000 households on the council’s housing waiting list and house prices increasing sevenfold in twenty years, Hackney is facing an unprecedented housing crisis.

“We’re already doing all we can to tackle this.

“This year alone we’ve launched the #BetterRenting campaign to help Hackney’s 30,000 private renters, set up an innovative fund to build homes using income from council homes sold to tenants under right-to-buy, and kick-started a programme of housebuilding on underused council land – part of almost 9,000 homes being delivered by the council and its partners.

“Sadiq Khan’s draft housing strategy shows we’re on the same page – we both recognise housing is the single biggest issue facing London today, and are prepared to roll up our sleeves and do something about it despite the complete absence of any real government backing.

“The strategy could be great for Hackney as it proposes additional support for many of the things we’re already committed to, whether it’s creating a fairer private rented sector that both protects tenants and supports landlords to do the right thing, ensuring ‘affordable’ really is affordable, or being proactive about finding sites for new homes.

“When the Mayor of London sets new housing delivery targets for every council in London, you can be sure Hackney will be as up for the challenge as anyone.

“But it could all be so much easier if the government moved the real barriers that stop the homes Hackney, and London, needs being built.

“The cap on the amount councils can borrow limits the number of homes we can build at any given time. And if being forced to sell off council homes at a discount wasn’t bad enough, we can’t even use all the proceeds to replace them.

“The Mayor of London knows this as well as anyone.

His new housing strategy comes with a clear call for more effective powers from government, and on this he has my full backing - it may well determine whether we can really make progress on housing in London.”

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What is included in the Mayor of London’s draft housing strategy?

Earlier this year, the Gazette reported on the thousands of homeless people in Hackney who are forced to live in hostels and other temporary accommodation due to a severe lack of affordable homes, in our award-winning Hidden Homeless series.

The Mayor of London’s draft housing strategy, published last week, sets out plans to try and tackle this housing crisis affecting Hackney and boroughs across the capital.

Measures include:

- City Hall will earmark £250million to buy land to build affordable homes.

- Statutory powers, including compulsory purchase orders, could be used to secure this land.

- Money made from selling the land onto home builders will be recycled to buy more land for affordable homes.

- Work will begin on building 90,000 new affordable properties by 2021.

- Councils will be set clear housing targets.

- Funding for self-build, purpose-built rental homes, and community-led housing projects will be allocated to speed up delivery of homes.

- Private tenants and landlords will help develop a new “London Model” to provide a fairer deal for hard-pressed renters.

- Green belt land will be protected by supporting high density building on brownfield sites.

Sadiq Khan has also called for the government to urgently devolve funding and powers to City Hall to address London’s housing crisis.

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How can I have my say on the plans?

A public consultation on the draft London Housing Strategy is open until December 7.

Responses can be submitted online, by post, or by emailing housingstrategy@london.gov.uk

Further information is available at london.gov.uk/have-your-say-housing-strategy-consultation

The strategy will be revised following the three-month consultation and a final version published in 2018.

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