Affordable Housing in Camden 2

MQT on 2013-05-22
Session date: 
May 22, 2013
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


When will you answer substantively Question No: 294 / 2013 from January this year, concerning your rejection of Camden's housing proposals, inter alia on the basis that Camden wish to set a target of 50% as social rented homes. Do you not agree that the shortage of availability of tenure is correctly identified by Camden?


Answer for Affordable Housing in Camden 2

Answer for Affordable Housing in Camden 2

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I do not quarrel with Camden Council's assessment of the need for affordable housing in its area.

The problem comes when they set planning policy targets. Like every other planning authority, in doing this they have to have regard to a range of factors, not least making the best use of available resources. This bears heavily on the deliverability of new homes, which is also a key concern of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There are currently few resources available for social rented homes but there are for affordable rented dwellings. The NPPF is clear that affordable rent is intended to address the needs of those eligible for social rented.

It is addressing this element of need which is important rather than tenure as such and it is this point which was made to LB Camden - it should not seek to constrain operation of the affordable rent product because to do so will constrain it in addressing need and maximising affordable housing provision.

The London Plan provides boroughs with the flexibility to express targets in absolute or percentage terms, but setting a 50 per cent target for a product for which there are few resources is not a sound basis for planning to meet Londoners' needs. In current economic conditions it could well constrain development. To maximise affordable housing provision it is much more robust to ensure that this development is viable and to seek a smaller proportion of it as affordable, rather than to constrain it altogether with a higher and generally unachievable target.