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'Londoners' needs should be at the heart of solving housing crisis'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 October 2019

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie Morton

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie Morton

Archant

Meeting the wants and needs of Londoners must not be lost in the quest to solve London's housing crisis.

Artist's impression of Stratford Waterfront. Picture: GLAArtist's impression of Stratford Waterfront. Picture: GLA

That's the message from mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who was speaking during the inaugural Homes for Londoners conference which brought more than 400 people from across the housing sector together at the Royal Docks' Crystal.

"We are in a housing crisis," he said.

"There's a perception, in my view, that residents' groups are seen as bad.

"There's a particular impression among some communities that developers are bad.

An artist's impression of how the completed Beam Park development may look. Picture: CountrysideAn artist's impression of how the completed Beam Park development may look. Picture: Countryside

"What we're trying to do is bring them together to realise what each other is about."

Mr Khan added: "My challenge to homebuilders is not to lose sight of their social responsibilities, and to redouble their efforts to provide the homes Londoners genuinely need.

"I'll do everything I can to help, and I'll continue to lobby government hard for the money London needs, but everyone has a role to play, and that includes developers."

The population of the capital is expected to rise within the next 20 years, with more homes required to accommodate that.

Artist's impression of the proposed Westferry printworks. Picture: Northern & ShellArtist's impression of the proposed Westferry printworks. Picture: Northern & Shell

The biggest rise in east London is in Tower Hamlets, which is set for a population increase of 130,000 people. The draft London plan offers a 10-year target of 35,100 homes.

Newham is close behind, with a predicted population increase of around 120,000. There are 38,500 homes intended to be built in the next decade.

An additional 70,000 people are expected to move into Redbridge by 2039, with the draft London plan set to provide 19,790 new homes.

Barking and Dagenham's population is forecast to rise by more than 85,000 in the next 20 years, with plans for 22,640 new homes. Havering is predicted to welcome an additional 45,000 people, with 18,750 homes.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie MortonMayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie Morton

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Also highlighted as a separate area is Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where construction is controlled by the London Legacy Development Corporation.

It is estimated the park's current population of around 34,000 will jump to around 109,000 in 20 years, in part due to the 21,610 homes set to be built in the next decade.

Many of these homes are set to take shape in the form of large scale developments, such as the 3,000-home Beam Park site which spans Rainham and Dagenham, the Stratford Waterfront site on the edge of the Olympic Park and the proposed Westferry printworks site on the Isle of Dogs.

Others will be in high rise towers such as the 42-storey block on the site of Ilford's Bodgers department store.

During the conference on Tuesday, October 8, panel discussions took place with people involved in a variety of roles within the housing industry.

Graeme Craig, Transport for London's commercial development director, outlined how TfL currently has 45 developments across 21 boroughs and is bringing forward 39 others this year.

He emphasised the need for developments to focus on what each community wants and needs, saying: "I think there is a difference in different areas of London. You can't put a template on London. That won't work."

Paul Karakusevic, a partner at Karakusevic Carson Architects, spoke about the importance of housing on a wider scale, saying: "It's not being taken seriously as a national subject."

He added: "Residents shouldn't be used to get planning permission. There has to be a long term commitment."

Sadie Morgan set up the Quality of Life Foundation which aims to accredit developments which provide a good quality of life for residents based on a range of factors.

She said: "We're going to get the community to decide what developments are achieving this."

One of the key issues discussed was about community and how to engage people with the future of their areas.

Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards set up a youth club on his Acton estate and its success has seen him contacted about replicating the model in other areas, including in east London.

"I want to connect young people with work," he explained. "I'm trying to support everyone to think 'I belong here' and take it across London."

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