We are extremely disappointed by Wandsworth Council’s decision to use a planning provision that should be used in the interest of the local community (for example by providing social or other genuinely affordable housing or facilities) to encourage a developer to build more expensive privately rented housing. We are also concerned that other councils in London may seek to repeat this.
Wandsworth Council have used a Section 106 agreement, which is supposed to ensure that private developments do not run counter to community’s interest by making developers to contribute to offset negative impacts of development. London Renters believes that the developer, Bellway, building of 114 units of privately rented housing at market rents is not of benefit to the community. Wandsworth Council believe that attracting more “young, upwardly mobile singles and couples” to the borough represents a community benefit, this parallels statements by other London councils seeking to attract a “better class of tenant” to their borough. We do not believe the social cleansing of the old, poor and children is of benefit to communities in London.
As renters in London, we know that for tenants private renting is highly exploitative and very rarely meets our needs. Indeed research conducted by Shelter shows that only 6 per cent of renters would stay in private rented housing given the choice. We do not believe that local or central government should be encouraging the building of more of these homes.