More affordable homes; greater opportunities for low and middle income households and greater choices for all
Westminster City Council is launching a consultation on a ground breaking new housing strategy, proposing innovative approaches to delivering more homes and offering a unique range of housing opportunities in one of the most expensive and complex areas in the country.
The draft Westminster Housing Strategy was launched for public comment on June 3. It outlines plans for the next 5 to 10 years, divided into four chapters: Homes, People, Places and Prosperity. It’s a key part of the new City for All vision that sets out how everyone can play their part in, and benefit from, Westminster’s continued success. The draft strategy also highlights the importance of good housing in improving the health, social and economic prospects of Westminster residents.
In particular, it proposes new ways of enabling low and middle income households to live and prosper in the city. This group plays a key role in the securing the success of the local economy, in turn driving the Westminster powerhouse that is vital to London’s long term success.
By emphasising delivery of more affordable homes the strategy seeks to support this often overlooked group while continuing to help the most disadvantaged. If not, local businesses will find it increasingly difficult to hire staff and workers will face long commutes.
The council’s approach is to assist people to help themselves, supporting them through a housing journey, moving between different sorts of homes and making their own choices. Putting this into action means providing housing options for people at different stages of their lives and helping them take up the jobs and other opportunities their city provides.
A good home in a high quality neighbourhood is important for everyone. The council is already building more new homes at Church Street/Paddington Green, Tollgate Gardens Estate and Ebury Bridge Estate. But delivering more homes in a world city like Westminster is particularly challenging - space is limited; developing new homes is costly; and demand for affordable housing will always outstrip supply. The draft strategy outlines what the council intends to do within Westminster; it also highlights the need for Londonwide approaches to the challenges faced by boroughs across the capital.
Cllr Daniel Astaire, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration, Business and Economic Development, said:
“Good homes give people the stability to take decisions that are right for them and their families, improving health, enabling them to get into work and building neighbourhoods where people look out for one another and are proud to live. This draft strategy sets out proposals aimed at helping the people our city needs, in particularly challenging circumstances.
“By securing more affordable homes we will be able to support those who need help to get on the housing ladder while not diminishing our ability to help those most in need. We particularly want to promote opportunity, especially for people on comparatively low incomes who work in jobs crucial to Westminster’s economic success. At the moment there are few homes in Westminster they can afford and increasing the supply of affordable homes will help ensure Westminster does not become home only to the very rich and poor.
“We are a council of action, not words. This year we’ll lay foundations for 350 new homes as part of an investment of over £60 million to provide more high quality homes. We can, and will, do more. But we cannot meet all our housing needs within the city’s boundaries – there isn’t enough space and what there is is among the most expensive in the UK. London as a whole faces unprecedented demands for housing and meeting this challenge will need cross-London approaches. We will take a lead in working with other boroughs and the Mayor to develop some fresh ideas and I hope this draft strategy will start the debate.”