'(Un)affordable Housing'

The Putney Society Meeting 22nd October


The Putney Society

7.30 pm
Brewer Building,
St Mary’s Church,
Putney Bridge SW15 1SN

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Until recently there was little debate about housing. Now with ever rising waiting lists, house prices, and rents, it has become a political hot potato.

Today’s main definition of ‘Affordable’ needs you to have a minimum income of £70,000 pa, and members are asking how their children will find homes to live in Putney.

Before the 1980’s it was simple. Councils built and provided homes for the poor at subsidised rents, mostly on big estates such as Ashburton on Putney Heath and the Alton estates in Roehampton.

The rest of us bought or rented relatively affordable and available homes on the open market. Then successive governments removed the grants to Councils, and told them
to sell what they have through ‘right to buy’. The public sector stopped building completely. Housebuilding slowed down during the banking crisis, and even their best efforts now still only meet half the demand.

Wandsworth Council have started building again, but on a very small scale compared to the past. The main provision is now through Housing Associations, but they in turn are threatened by right to buy, subject to legislation due ‘in the Autumn’. Cash to build is supposed to come from developers, in exchange for planning consents (which in turn increases house prices), but a loophole allows them to claim this is not necessarily viable even as their profits soar.

So what now? Our speakers will be: Paul Ellis, Conservative Councillor for Balham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Simon Hogg, Opposition Speaker on the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Labour Councillor for Latchmere Ward and for the providers, and Tracey Lees, CEO of Wandle Housing Association Limited.

August 27, 2015

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