‘Nothing to rent’

The rule on rented social housing is dropped at new White City scheme
A residential scheme in White City, W12, costing £30 million will include a health and social centre, café and local supermarket, but will not have social housing for rent, writes Mira Bar-Hillel.

This is a shift away from Ken Livingstone’s percentage rule and back towards providing facilities the community most needs.

Initial plans for the site were for 179 homes, 50 per cent of which were to be “affordable”.

But last December, after the Conservatives won control of Hammersmith & Fulham council from Labour, a revised application was lodged reducing the amount of affordable housing to 39 per cent, with none for rent.

A month later, the council received confirmation from new Mayor Boris Johnson that the scheme would not be opposed by his office.

Communities secretary Hazel Blears held up the project while she considered holding a public inquiry but last week the council received confirmation that the Government would not oppose the scheme.

In doing so, Ms Blears has cleared a path for other housing proposals to include community amenities and facilities instead of affordable housing.

Hammersmith & Fulham council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said: “This is indeed a landmark shift away from the dogma of percentages and back towards allowing communities to chose facilities they most need.”

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