Bitty, scrappy, messy and non-strategic. That is the way that housing and regeneration in London will be funded (if at all) in the coming years. That was the conclusion of the contributors and audience today at the third in Future of London’s Breakfast Seminar series: New Ways to Pay.
Delivery will rely on the different ways a borough can stitch together scraps of funding, resources and market opportunities: how well it will do out of the New Homes Bonus; how much HRA borrowing head room it has; the strength of its local housing market; if ‘affordable’ rent stacks up in their patch and what it can do with its own or other public sector land.
Perhaps this is the Government’s localism in action: local problems being dealt with through local resources and innovation? But with all ‘localism’, these opportunities are unevenly distributed: Islington are making the most of a generous HRA settlement and New Homes Bonus allocation. But many other boroughs have a far worse hand to play.
And there is no guarantee that what resources there are will be concentrated in the places where there is most need for housing or where there is most capacity to deliver it. If we’re delivering less in the future, isn’t it all the more important it goes in the right places and to the right people? And in London’s new housing system there’s no way of shaping this.
Please click here to view the presentations from the morning from Alan Benson – GLA, Patrick Odling-Smee – LB Islington, and Colin Ross – Navigant.