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Countryside and Building’s third Alan Cherry Debate and Placemaking Award tackled this matter very recently, bringing together an impressive range of panelists including Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles MP, David Lunts of the GLA and Christine Whitehead of London School of Economics, and an audience of local authorities, housing associations, architects and others.
For me the key messages were:
• The comprehensive approach being taken by the GLA as outlined in David Lunts’ 10 Point Plan. The focus on 10 growth zones was welcome although I am not sure it goes far enough to meet a need for new homes right across London.
• The very clear appetite amongst the Local Authorities present, and championed by Pat Hayes of Ealing Council, for a much more proactive role in the provision of new homes.
• At the same time I sensed a loss of confidence amongst some Housing Associations who are finding the end of an era of substantial grant funding difficult to adjust to. However, others have adjusted to a new world where development profit replaces grant and are making a significant contribution to new housing supply.
• My only regret in what was an extremely full and wide ranging debate is that there wasn’t more time to explore the scope to generate new housing through the redevelopment of existing Local Authority housing estates. Eric Pickles touched on it, but it is clear vacant land won’t be enough to meet the level of housebuilding London needs. Richard Cherry will talk more about this in a forthcoming blog post.
It was a privilege to have Eric Pickles open the proceedings with an amusing and rumbustious outline of Government policy. However he caught most people on the hop by promoting off-site fabrication as an answer to supply particularly as the example given wasn’t truly relevant to most of London’s housing.
The Alan Cherry Placemaking Award which is awarded to an individual in the public sector who has made a significant contribution to placemaking in their communities was won by Jonathan Speed who is a former Director of Barking Riverside. Jonathan has had a very significant role in the placemaking of Barking Riverside and has been influential in making the area a better place to live. He led Barking Riverside from being a scheme stalled due to a multitude of problems to one of the best planned and designed schemes. The development has the community and place making at its heart with the social infrastructure being developed alongside the homes. Congratulations Jonathan!
You can now watch videos of the Alan Cherry Debate on how we can increase housing supply at:
Michael Hill, New Business Director
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