Large reduction in affordable housing in Bexley borough project

Bexley planners have agreed that a large amount of “affordable” housing can be removed from a plan due before Bexley Council’s planning committee next week.

A previous plan for homes in Belvedere beside Picardy Way and Yarnton Way was approved with 69 homes including 24 “affordable”.

Developers now want to increase overall homes to 90, but reduce “affordable” housing to zero.

Previous plan before increase

Instead they seek to pay £700,000, which would buy about two homes off the market, or build very few new homes. Far less than the initial 24 approved, let alone a percentage increase in line with overall numbers being upwardly revised.

Bexley planners state it has been independently verified. Not all independently verified reports are of good quality.

Bexley have a long history of approving developments with zero affordable homes with the knock-on affect of a lack of social housing, thus forcing the council to pay extremely expensive overnight housing costs for those in temporary and emergency housing.

Bexley affordable homes total in recent years

This was a key factor in budget problems seen in recent years.

Bottom in London

A report in March 2021 showed Bexley bottom of 32 London councils for new social housing.

Bexley were so poor at gaining “affordable” housing from developers – let alone social homes – that the authority itself eventually stated they needed to train staff to gain greater knowledge of viability assessments.

Bottom in London

It’s those viability assessments that developers continue to use to justify little to no affordable housing.

It’s common to see across London and beyond, but many authorities kick back – either during negotiations before a decision is made or at planning meetings.

Bexley have often rolled over – which in turn is costing the authority and taxpayer millions of pounds.

It’s interesting that developments in Bexley appear to be less viable compared to every other London authority – and many plans just over the border in Dartford.

Apart from a £700,000 in place of any affordable housing, the developer is offering nothing for transport, health or education via Section 106 payments. The only other allocation is a carbon off-set payment of £63,280.

New Homes Bonus

Council’s receive a payment by Government for every new home built – with a bonus for affordable homes. Greenwich will see £7.3 million this year from the New Homes Bonus fund. Bexley just £310,000.

It’s all contributing to Bexley’s financial problems and service cuts.

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11 thoughts on “Large reduction in affordable housing in Bexley borough project

  • July 30, 2021 at 6:41 am
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    Neighbouring Greenwich Council have also reduced the amount of affordable homes by rejecting a development of affordable homes to rent in Charlton recently. To be honest i do not think Councils really care about affordable housing or social housing any more.

    Rents need to be capped at more affordable levels which local people can actually afford each month.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2021 at 8:56 am
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    As much as affordable homes are a “nice to have” and necessary when there is a shortage of housing, what is really needed are more “homes” to alleviate the shortage. Any homes will do. Build enough of them in the places people want to live and property prices and rents will fall. This sounds like a good outcome for Belvedere to me.

    It’s a simple case of high demand (driven by a rising population, cheap mortgages and enormous subsidies for home buyers) outstripping low supply (driven by poor regulation and land-banking by developers).

    Central government needs to end subsidies for home buyers (H2B loans etc) and cheap mortgages (for B2L landlords in particular) to constrain demand and allow local governments to press developers to build quickly once planning permission is granted to boost supply. Both could just build the homes themselves, of course!

    Reply
  • July 30, 2021 at 10:34 pm
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    Yet another shill pushing the nebulous ‘YIMBY’ line on behalf of developers

    “This sounds like a good outcome for Belvedere to me.”

    But not for the existing residents of Belvedere maybe: as it will result in them being displaced by a wave of gentrification – which I expect is the idea, as it’s a Tory council that has no regard for them.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2021 at 10:42 pm
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    “ Greenwich Council have also reduced the amount of affordable homes by rejecting a development of affordable homes to rent in Charlton recently”

    Hardly comparable with Bexley, who are so arch they even try to sell off public parks for developments their own councillors directly profit from.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2021 at 11:02 pm
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    I just looked up about the Greenwich/ Charlton development and it seems this was about wider planning considerations and height/ density; nothing to do with them negating affordable housing entirely as in this Bexley case above.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2021 at 10:03 am
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    I welcome all new homes and I am looking forward to work starting on the Spray Street development as soon as possible.

    I also think this development will be good for Belvedere

    I would rather see more homes on new developments built for sale or rent which are truly affordable for local people to purchase for local people on their low to moderate salaries.

    However, house prices remain far too high making it so much harder for local people to get on the housing ladder or rent a home privately. Private rents do need to be capped by each London Borough.

    @Graham you made some very valid points and especially about Councils not really caring about their social housing.

    As reported on the BBC News recently three London Boroughs Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark have some of the worse social housing conditions in the Country living families in appalling and dangerous conditions.

    @optimist The points you raised are also valid. We do need more homes to house an ever growing population in the UK.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2021 at 10:28 am
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    There’s an interesting comment on the facebook post for this article. Seems the leader of Bexley council has made a mandate that no social or affordable housing should be built there.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2021 at 10:29 am
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    See: https:/facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4549100861768280&id=1540181295993600

    Reply

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