The delivery of genuinely affordable housing for local people will be Wandsworth Labour’s top priority.
The £9 billion Battersea Power Station scheme is a symbol of everything that’s gone wrong with Wandsworth’s Conservative council. They let the developers get away with providing just 9% affordable housing in the scheme – and to cut 250 affordable homes after building got under way.
Labour’s approach, based on fairness and common sense, means getting tough with property developers and delivering 35% affordable housing in new housing projects. This is more than double the 16% affordable housing delivered last year by Wandsworth Conservatives.
We will tell the Battersea Power Station developers they need to put those 250 affordable homes back into their scheme.
Transparency and integrity will be at the heart of planning decisions. Deals made with developers will be out in the open. All Planning Committee meetings will be broadcast live. No Labour councillor will accept gifts or hospitality from a property developer.
London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there are no easy answers. We will use all of the council’s powers to help level the playing field.
The 2,500 homeless children in Wandsworth are a badge of shame for Wandsworth Conservatives. The result of their failure over many years to put local people ahead of the interests of property developers.
To tackle this homelessness crisis, we will intervene earlier to stop evictions and end the placement of children in B&Bs. We will never follow the Wandsworth Conservatives policy to send homeless families away to Leicester, Portsmouth and Birmingham.
It’s distressing to see an increase in people sleeping rough on our streets. One person sleeping rough is always too many. We’ll work closely with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to get people off the street for good.
Regeneration schemes must work for local people. We’ll add more than 100 extra council homes into the Winstanley & York Road project. We’ll hold ballots of residents on any future estate regeneration schemes.
Council homes are the gold standard of affordable housing. We’ll inject new ambition into Wandsworth Council’s own house-building plans to create 700 new council homes across the borough – above and beyond those replaced by regeneration.
We will guarantee ‘first dibs’ to local people on new homes built in their neighbourhood. If new homes are built in your area – whether homes for sale, shared ownership, or council housing – they will be offered to you first. We will clamp down on sell-offs to overseas investors.
We will be smarter and tougher in negotiations with property developers by creating a dedicated high-powered Town Hall team to make and enforce agreements.
One in three households are now private renters. Many pay more than half of their take-home pay in rent. We will build hundreds of new homes at Wandsworth Living Rent. That means rent set at a third of actual wages – and the homes guaranteed to go to local renters.
A fair deal for renters means extending landlord licensing to drive up standards and ban rogue landlords. We will encourage longer rental contracts with stable rent increases to help people put down roots in our community. The council will take a lead in offering its staff help with tenancy deposits and will encourage other employers to do the same.
Council leaseholders have told us the cost of additional works by the council can be a serious burden. To help ease the cost of living, Labour will extend the repayment period to two years, interest free.
Of course, we need more affordable homes and better standards in the private rented sector for those in direct need. But many Wandsworth residents tell us that they feel the housing crisis also damages neighbourhoods.
It means that young families can no longer afford to live in certain areas and communities are becoming more exclusive. This threatens the diversity and quality of life that helps to make Wandsworth a great place to live.
Labour’s strong and ambitious housing plans will benefit the whole community.
We’ll create a listening council, with improved communication with residents, tenants and leaseholders. We’ll consult widely on how to build the homes we need, without disrupting the communities we already have.