Search

Editor’s comment: Developers shouldn’t be calling shots

PUBLISHED: 14:06 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:31 12 October 2017

Protest banners hung from Bernard Morgan House, facing the development site. Picture: EMMA MATTHEWS

Protest banners hung from Bernard Morgan House, facing the development site. Picture: EMMA MATTHEWS

Archant

When it applied for permission to demolish the old Bernard Morgan House and build 104 luxury flats with a private cinema on the Golden Lane Estate, Taylor Wimpey argued that it couldn’t afford more than a £1.5million contribution towards “affordable” housing.

That’s the equivalent of nine social flats – less than a tenth of the development.

Then it turned out Taylor Wimpey had not only underestimated what the flats would be worth, but also overestimated how much the land would cost. The City of London Corporation told it to come back with £4.5m – the equivalent of 27pc – which was somehow found after all.

For cash contributions that will go towards off-site affordable housing, the City’s own planning policy says this figure should be closer to 60pc.

So why did planners sign off a development with less than half that?

Because, basically, councils prioritise the desperate need for genuinely affordable housing below the expectation that developers should always expect to make a hefty profit. The tail is wagging the dog.

The questionable logic is that if these companies only expect to walk away with, say, 5pc profit – still an eye-watering amount – they simply won’t bother building anything at all.

One wonders what might have happened had the cross-boundary plan for the Golden Lane Estate put the luxury block on our side of the fence: Islington recently reaffirmed its commitment to getting 50pc affordable housing out of every development it signs off.

As I said in this space back in July, if London worked together to insist on that figure across borough boundaries, it could be a powerful tool in tackling the housing crisis.

But as it is, developers need only go a few yards down the road for a better deal.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Stories

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hailed his team after they outclassed and outfought bitter rivals Spurs 2-0 at the Emirates on Saturday.

A visibly disappointed Mauricio Pochettino has insisted his Tottenham Hotspur side were the better side, especially before they conceded the first goal in a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal.

Arsenal’s comprehensive 2-0 victory over Spurs in the North London derby raised more questions than answers about the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

A superb performance from every Arsenal player saw them deservedly beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0 at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime.

08:21

England’s women made a losing start to their Hockey World League final campaign in New Zealand overnight.

07:00

London’s most talented cross-country runners will be out in force when the 2018 London Youth Games gets underway this weekend.

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

08:30

The lack of a safe crossing at Palmer Place and many other accessways to Holloway Road is putting ordinary people in danger Gazette, writes Pierre Delarue, Islington Liberal Democrats.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now