Following publication of the government’s Housing White Paper this week, Cllr Rachael Robathan, Cabinet Member for Housing at Westminster City Council, said: “We welcome the government’s White Paper as we share the ambition to deliver more homes of all types as the bedrock of successful neighbourhoods and a strong community. Whether buying or renting, we have made it a renewed priority, with a particular focus on seeing what can be done to provide truly affordable family homes.
“We recognise the unique challenge of doing so in the heart of London, which has some of the highest land values and development costs in the country and a limited supply of brownfield land. Our growing global city presents a raft of challenges and competing priorities in creating an attractive and sustainable environment that our residents, workers, visitors and businesses can all enjoy and thrive in. We also know there can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution.
That’s why we welcome, in particular, the invitation to councils to come forward with plans for additional housing delivery, with greater flexibilities in areas such as the Starter Home product. We particularly welcome the potential for lifting the Housing Revenue Account borrowing caps and other flexibilities which could enable us to do more on our own land and elsewhere.
“As the country’s largest planning authority, we have been pushing for an increase in planning fees so that we can recover our own costs and invest in the service, and the 20% increase from July 2017 will benefit all.
“Areas where we will look to have further discussions with the government include seeking to ensure that changes to national planning policy or monitoring of delivery allow sufficient flexibility to address our unique local circumstances. We’d also want any reform of the Community Infrastructure Levy to not further complicate an already complex system or limit local authorities’ ability to raise resources for much-needed infrastructure.
“We now look forward to responding in detail to the government’s White Paper and working with them, the Mayor, other councils, developers and, most importantly, our community to quickly bring forward innovative and practical solutions to deliver more homes in Westminster.”