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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Brent Councillors Need to Remember the Language of Priorities

With the housing crisis now so pressing that even government ministers have noticed it, it is interesting to read Brent's Housing Scrutiny agenda coming up today.  The report identifies a key lack of strategic direction in Brent Housing, stating:

“One of the key  problems previously has been the failure  to provide strategic direction and outline the  expectations  that Brent has  for the  delivery of affordable supply to its Housing Association partners. Put simply this has meant  that all development  has  been  entirely opportunity led and Brent has had no influence over development  which  has  led to a surfeit of Shared Ownership Property.” (Paragraph 3.10)

While I am sympathetic to many of the problems that Brent Council faces in trying to solve the Borough 's housing problems with a cascade of central government cutbacks, very little land and constant fiddling with the regulatory regime  that still sounds pretty damning.

There are some directions that Brent Councillors should be deciding, namely:

  • What is the tenure mix?
  • What is the appropriate mix of unit size?
  • What adjustments to each area in terms of civic infrastructure are needed?
  • What is the appropriate mix of land uses?
 I am not at all sure that the first three are getting any sort of answer, and too often the debate seems to retreat into a kneejerk defence of the status quo rather than an attempt to maximise opportunities. 

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