Why has Redbridge Council made the decision to build new council homes?
Our Council needs to build more genuinely affordable homes for rent. Affordable family housing is scarce in Redbridge, with an average wait of more than 13 years for a three-bedroom home. More than 2,500 families currently live in temporary accommodation, at a cost of over £10.5 million each year. To tackle the housing crisis, our Council intends to build new, genuinely affordable and high-quality homes on land we already own across the borough.
How will the new homes being funded?
The Council has secured nearly £60 million of funding to go towards building 600 new council homes.
The funding includes £38 million from right to buy receipts plus a £20 million grant from the Greater London Authority.
The grant funding is only available for a short time, so we’re asking for your views about the proposals now. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council needs to act now and work together with local people to benefit the future of our whole community.
Who will be eligible for the new properties?
Local families on the Council’s Housing Register will be able to bid for the properties through our bidding system, Choice Based Lettings. In line with the Allocations Policy, all applicants have to live in Redbridge for five years before they can join the Housing Register.
Currently, there are over 5,500 households on the Redbridge Housing Register. This includes homeless households, 1,779 families living in overcrowded conditions and 249 households whose medical needs made their existing homes unsuitable for them.
Many of the people on the Housing Register are currently living in temporary accommodation. At the moment, there are more than 2,500 households in temporary accommodation, over 45% of whom were placed out of borough because of a lack of suitable privately rented properties locally. The cost of temporary accommodation is £10.5 million per year, which is unsustainable, especially in the current economic climate.
How much will the properties cost to rent?
All of the new council homes will be set at London Affordable Rent levels. In Redbridge, these rents will be roughly as below per week:
- Bedsit and one bedroom: £155.13
- Two bedrooms: £164.24
- Three bedrooms: £173.37
- Four bedrooms: £182.49
- Five bedrooms: £191.61
- Six or more bedrooms: £200.73
How will parking issues on the estate be addressed?
Any proposal to build new homes on the estate will have to consider the need for parking for existing estate residents. The design teams will be looking at existing parking arrangements and how these can be improved. This will include carrying out specialist surveys of the demand for parking. Any proposal has to be submitted for full planning approval. The Planning Authority will always consider the effect on parking of any proposal for building new homes.
Are there enough school places and GP surgeries in the area for new and existing families?
Redbridge has an excellent track record ensuring there are enough school and GP places. Whilst, we recognise that some specific schools may have pressure on places, all the new residents will have a local connection and many will already be living locally, so won’t create any additional pressure. All of this will be considered in the planning process.
Precisely where on each site will new homes be built?
The lines on the illustrations in the newsletters and questionnaires only illustrate the areas of the estate that are being looked into for possible new homes. The design teams are busy working on more detailed options. These details will be shared during the next stage of the consultation process, which will start soon. This will be a further opportunity for you to give your views.
What size bedrooms is the council planning to build?
The details on the proposed mix of bedroom sizes will be produced for the next consultation stage.
How will access be provided for garages on private land that are currently accessed through estates?
The building of any new homes will have to consider all existing access arrangements.
How will the privacy of both estate residents and neighbours be protected?
The Council is committed to promoting high-quality design of any new homes. In the Local Plan (2015-2030), covering all aspects of building new homes in the borough, it states that: ‘The Council will require good design and ‘place making’, and will seek high quality design in all development within the borough.
Innovative and good design will be encouraged and promoted, and development of poor design, that does not improve the character and quality of the area and the way the area functions, will be refused planning permission’. It goes on to define a number of qualities that any new house building must achieve, including that it:
Protects the amenity of neighbouring occupiers by not causing overshadowing, loss of sunlight, unreasonable noise and disturbance, overlooking or loss of privacy, and respects the scale, massing and height of surrounding buildings. This will be considered as part of the planning process.
How many properties will be built?
These sites are part of Phase 2 of the Council Home Building Programme, sites in Phase 3 have been identified. At least 600 new council homes will be built across all phases of the programme.
What will the tenures be?
The properties will be let to households on the Redbridge Council Housing Register. The occupants will be council tenants with a secure, permanent council tenancy agreement. Currently, there are over 5,500 households on the Redbridge Housing Register. This includes homeless households, 1,779 families living in overcrowded conditions and 249 households whose medical needs made their existing homes unsuitable for them.
Why has the council not spoken to us about these plans earlier?
We went out to Stage 1 consultation in June. It has taken time to gather all the information needed to explore the possibilities in more detail. Design teams, including architects were appointed in June this year.
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To tackle the housing crisis, the Council wants to build genuinely affordable and high-quality homes on land it already owns across the borough. We want to know your views about these proposals – what works and what you feel needs more thought. This is just the start of the consultation process. There will be further opportunities for you to give your views on the Council’s proposals. The council values the views of
its residents and our commitment extends to carrying out consultation over and above the statutory planning consultation – we want to hear from you and aim to fully involve you in the process.
How long before a decision is made?
We intend to run a second and third stage of resident consultation through September and October 2020. Following these stages, the Council has to make a formal application for planning approval.
Part of the planning approval process contains further opportunities for residents to comment on, and question any proposals to build new homes. Once a planning application has been made, it takes about 3 months for a final decision to be made
How can the green areas of my estate be improved?
We know from resident feedback in this first stage, that green space and views are high on the list of what people like about living here. Any proposals to build new homes will also have to contain proposals and ideas for improving green space and access to this for existing estate residents.
From the consultation, we are hoping to hear ideas from residents about how the green spaces on our estates can be improved.
Will trees be cut down?
The council is committed to replacing any trees that have to be removed as part of these proposals.
There has been concern about the increased density because of the new developments. In the UK density is usually measured in dwellings per hectare (dph) as a way to compare developments. Density figures are useful to understand how much land is occupied.
It can be used to make informed decisions on new developments and a useful way to compare the density of proposed buildings with the density of the surrounding neighbourhood. However, high density does not always mean tall buildings or poor quality buildings and surroundings. Since density is only a measure it cannot take into account height, local character, quality or sense of place. We need to look
at density in combination with other important factors to ensure that a building fits into its neighbourhood.
Although density will increase with new development, we are confident that it will remain within an acceptable range across Redbridge as a whole, staying in character for the borough.
About garages and parking
What compensation will be available if garages are demolished?
The proposals may involve the demolition of some garages. No decisions have yet been made. Design teams have been appointed to work on all 11 sites in this programme and the outcome of this work will be shared with residents and the local community during the next consultation engagement events, due in a few weeks. A further newsletter will be sent to residents with updated information. Residents will be consulted on any proposals produced by the design teams.
If any garages are demolished that are owned by individuals, the council will have to purchase these at fair market prices. Any new build proposal on the estate will have to take into account the need for parking for existing estate residents. Any proposal has to be submitted for full planning approval.
The Planning Authority will always consider the effect on parking of any proposal for building new homes.
We will aim to to offer an alternative garage if we can. This will depend on availability.
Will there be other garage provision with the borough?
The council has no plans to build more garage provision in the borough. Existing and remaining garages will continue to be available for rent. Garages located on council estates may be rented by council tenants, leaseholders and private individuals for the purpose of vehicle use.
Parking is already difficult on the estate, what will happen about parking?
Any new build proposal on the estate will have to consider the need for parking for existing estate residents. The design teams will be looking at existing parking arrangements and how these can be improved. Any proposal has to be submitted for full planning approval. The Planning Authority will always consider the effect on parking of any proposal for building new homes.
Will the existing properties on the estate be improved?
As part of these proposals, the design teams will be looking at how the overall fabric of the estates can be improved. This means things like communal access areas, play spaces, green spaces and refuse arrangements. In addition to responsive repairs, the council has a programme of external and communal painting together with associated external repairs.
The council also has an annual Capital Programme to deal with key elemental replacements such as kitchens and bathrooms, heating installations, windows and doors, rewiring and roofs. The priorities for the Capital Programme are determined by Stock Condition Surveys, supplemented by follow-up surveys and risk assessments carried out by the council.
Will support be provided if a disabled tenant/resident has to move due to building new homes?
If anybody has to move as a result of these proposals, the Council will provide a complete package of support to meet the needs of each household. If this should happen, much more detail and discussion will be provided long before anybody has to move home.
Will there be face to face meetings in the future?
We would really like to hold face-to-face meetings as soon as possible. However, due to social distancing regulations and recommendations we are unable to do so in the immediate future. We have to proceed with developing the proposals and consulting with residents ‘virtually’ as the funding to pay for new homes is only available for a limited time. There will continue to be a range of ways residents can give feedback.
Will any existing homes be demolished?
This may potentially be an option on some sites in the longer term, but not for any starting in March 2021.
No decisions have been made and this will be clarified in the next newsletter. The design teams are developing the proposals for each estate. The outcome of this work will be shared with residents and local communities during the next consultation engagement events, which are planned to take place in the next few weeks. A further newsletter will be sent to residents with updated information. Residents will be consulted on any proposals produced by the design teams.
Will there be an increase in service charges?
Leaseholder service charges are a contribution towards the day-to-day costs of maintaining and repairing the structure, exterior and shared parts of your property. They also help pay for things like lighting to shared areas and certain specialist services, such as grounds maintenance in communal garden areas. Service charges also cover administration and management costs. Leaseholder service charges don’t include costs for services the Council only provides to tenanted homes in your building, such as internal repairs and heating services. One of the points made by residents was that the flats need double glazing. If this were to be done, any charges levied would be in accordance with the terms of each lease.
Where we are increasing the number of properties on an estate there will be more properties contributing to estate charges and in this instance residents may see
a reduction in their service charge. If as a result of the development works, new facilities are added such as lifts, entryphones, residents will be consulted as this may lead to a new element of service charge for the ongoing repair and maintenance of the facility.
What is offered to leaseholders?
We know from resident feedback in this first stage, that green space and views are high on the list of what people like about living here. Any proposals to build new homes will also have to contain proposals and ideas for improving green space and access to this for existing estate residents; both tenants and leaseholders.
What will be the potential impact of council tax for residents, specifically leaseholders?
Building new council properties will have no impact on council tax for local residents.
What will be the potential impact for ground rent impact for residents?
Building new council properties will have no impact on ground rent for local residents.
For residents that currently have insurance with/through the council, how will this be effected in terms of pricing and covering?
Building new council properties will have no impact on current insurance with/through the council.
How do the plans for increased housing coincide with Covid-19 pandemic issues with regards to social distancing?
Building new council homes will have no impact on social distancing. Social distancing rules and government guidance will be followed whilst any work is underway
How long would it take to build and what would the working hours be? When will it start? Please avoid construction work during the summer period.
It is intended to run second and third stages of resident consultation through September and October 2020. Following these stages, the Council has to
make a formal application for planning approval.
Part of the planning approval process contains further opportunities for residents to comment on, and question any proposals to build new homes. Once a planning application has been made, it takes about
3 months for a final decision to be made. It is intended to start building work in spring 2021. It will take approximately 18 months to complete the building works. The Council exercises strict control over the hours that building work can be undertaken. All contractors will work in line with the Considerate Contractors’ Scheme. Further information will be shared with residents should we reach this stage.
Residents would like the council's infrastructure and health impact assessments of the area made available to them (and public).
These will be available once a planning application has been submitted.
How is the council going to control the construction process and the noise?
Should a scheme proceed, the contract documents will set out the necessary arrangements for the construction process, which will aim to minimise disruption for residents. There will be a management arrangement
in place including a Clerk of Works for all schemes.
We will look to appoint contractors under the Considerate Contractor’s Scheme.
Will residents get a discount on their rent while the building is going on to compensate for the noise, dust and disturbance?
The council is not in a position to consider this.