Islington council's landmark case proves that, despite recent trends, local authorities can defend residents from unscrupulous developersby Dawn Foster / July 4, 2017 / Leave a comment
Two stories this week reveal how councils can get housing policy right—and terribly wrong.
In Islington, the council won a landmark case, blocking a planning bid because the developers refused to abide by the council’s policy of building at least 50 per cent affordable homes in developments—with “affordable” meaning the homes must cost, at most, 80 per cent of market value. The developers, First Base, were rejected twice by the local authority for ignoring this rule. Their final offer of a measly 10 per cent of the development being “affordable” was eventually blocked by the courts, who upheld Islington’s decision.
Meanwhile, across the river in Battersea, Wandsworth council voted through plans allowing the developers of the luxury Battersea Power Station revamp to cut the number of affordable homes by almost half.
It’s disheartening, but not unusual. Islington’s stubbornness in refusing to allow plans through is refreshing. Far more common is the Wandsworth scenario: developers are collared into including a meagre nod to affordable housing in their plans, then swiftly drop the proposal once building begins, claiming with wide-eyed surprise that the plans just weren’t viable.
Councils in London have been particularly poor on housing. Often, these are Labour councils, whose actions c…