Westferry Printworks Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Olivia Blake Olivia Blake Labour, Sheffield, Hallam 3:11 pm, 24th June 2020

I will not give way.

The research also found that 2.5 million people are in hidden households that they cannot afford to move out of; 1.7 million people are living in unsuitable accommodation; 1.4 million people live in poor-quality housing; and 400,000 people are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Conservatives talk about the Labour party’s record, but we went on to fix poor-quality housing. Thousands of homes were upgraded under the Labour Government, and there was a low level of homelessness. We should be doing all we can to create better-quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable homes, given the dire situation.

It was more than reasonable for the planning inspector to say that 21% affordable housing in this scheme could be improved, as the Secretary of State agreed in his letter of approval. He admitted that the planning inspector was right:

“He agrees with the Inspector that, on the balance of the available evidence, it is likely that the scheme could provide more affordable housing and that 21% does not therefore represent the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing within the terms of” the London plan. The letter goes on to say that

“for the purpose of his assessment of the proposal…the Secretary of State proceeds on the basis that the maximum amount of affordable housing that could be reasonably delivered is uncertain, but may be up to 35%”.

Yet he still thought it was appropriate to approve the application. To make matters worse, he rushed it through 24 hours before the increase in the community infrastructure levy. The decision meant the council was losing £40 million towards affordable homes, at a time when local authorities up and down the country are already struggling to do this.

I want to mention briefly, if I may, Madam Deputy Speaker