Lambeth Renters welcomes the council’s commitment to keep the land on Brixton’s Somerleyton Road in public ownership, and build new homes on it. But we’re alarmed that only 40 per cent of it is planned to be let at council rents, with the rest at unaffordable market rents.
According to figures available on the website for the project, the development’s two bedroom flats will be rented at £335 a week – over £17,000 a year. According to Shelter, these rents would only be affordable to families with an annual income of over £62,000. The average household income in Lambeth is £31,000.
As part of London Renters, a coalition of private tenants groups from across the capital, we oppose efforts to build more privately rented housing which is unaffordable to all but the wealthiest, and which only 6 per cent of renters would live in if they had a choice.
If there is a need for housing to be subsidised, this should be done through general taxation, rather than this burden falling on a particular segment of the population who have little other option but to pay market rents, while those living in mansions elsewhere in the country contribute nothing.
We are disappointed that, on a site where the council already owns the land (which is a major cost of new housing, particularly in London), Lambeth is not proposing to provide a greater proportion of genuinely affordable housing, particularly when the borough has a social housing waiting list of over 20,000 households.
We urge Lambeth Council to reconsider its plans for the housing on this site, and investigate financial models which would enable all the housing to be let at social rents.