What’s behind the slogan?
At every Council Meeting, at every opportunity Brent are publicising their delivery of “1000 new Council Homes”
Brent’s Cabinet created what they call the “NCHP” (New Council Homes Programme) in 2018 and committed to deliver 1000 New Council Homes between April 2019 and April 2024, ie a 5 years period. Recently, after being awarded further funds by the GLA they are heavily publicising that they will deliver a further 700 genuinely affordable Homes.
When one reads this publicity one would assume that Brent are delivering 1000 additional Council Homes, for assured tenancy (thus reducing housing waiting list and providing security of tenure) at Council rent levels BUT, CONTINUE READING…
Headline figures for the NCHP are easy to find but the details are slightly more difficult to come by.
Here is the official website page that explains summarily the programme. We have taken a screenshot for you below.
Important points are highlighted in yellow. It is quite clear that the objectives of the Council Homes programme are threefold:
- reduction of the “massive council housing waiting list”
- reduction in the number of residents living in temporary accommodation
- providing local people with suitable housing that meets their needs.
Also there is a clear statement that the Council have already delivered 255 NEW Council Homes. So where are those homes?
On the 5th July 2021 Hakeem Osinaike, Director of Housing for Brent Council since July 2017, even claimed that the Council is on track to deliver 1600 new Council Homes by 2024.
So what is behind those laudable claims? We made a Freedom of Information request asking where those Council Homes had been built, were in the process of being built or had planning permission. We also asked if they were additional Council Homes, Tenure, date of completion and date of occupation. As one says “the devil is in the details”! tr
This is what we discovered. ( very sorry for the spelling mistakes in the tables, but this is what we were suplied with after several attempts and wrong data being sent to us on several occasions).
So here are the results by financial year of the NCHP.
FINANCIAL YEAR 2019-2020 Delivery of the NCHP– 34 New homes, of which 23 are general Accomodation and 11 Assisted Independent living.
FINANCIAL YEAR 2020-2021 Delivery of the NCHP– 124 New homes, but only 41 are ADDITIONAL council Homes, 83 are replacement Council Homes
|Street Names||Ward||No of Homes||Date of Completion||Date of Occupation||Use|
|Ellerslie Gardens||Willesden Green||8||Jun-2020||Jun – Jul 2020||General Accommodation|
|Kingston House||Brondesbury Park||2||Dec-2020||Aug-21||General Accommodation|
|Kilburn Square||Kilburn||24||Dec-2020||Dec 2020 – Feb 2021||General Accommodation|
|Gloucester & Durham||Kilburn||83||Jan-2021||Jan – Mar 2021||General Accommodation|
|Oman Avenue||Mapesbury||7||Mar-2021||Apr 2021 – May 2021||General Accommodation|
The Gloucester and Durham Scheme, phase 1 replaces 209 previous Council Homes, that were demolished as part of the South Kilburn Regeneration. Please note also that there seems to be no urgency in letting those homes, ie it toook 8 months for the 2 homes in Brondesbury Park to be occupied.
PREDICTED DELIVERY FINANCIAL YEAR 2021-22: 421 new Homes, but……
Of the 421 new homes to be delivered, only 88 are additional Council Homes at Council Rents for assured tenancy, ie only 21% of the new homes in that financial year. The other 333 homes are split as follows:
- 126 homes at Gloucester and Durham are replacement homes, after the demolition of 209 Council homes on this site.
- 92 homes at Knowles House are Temporary Accommodation, that wil not help reduce the Council Housing waiting list nor provide a secure long term housing solution.
- 92 Homes at the Grand Union in Alperton are homes to be let at “London Affordable Rent Levels“. London Affordable rents are around 25% more expensive than Council rents and are more expensive than social rents in Housing Association homes. See this article that explains the difference between a Council Rent and “London Affordable Rent”.
- more shockingly, 23 homes in the Grand Union in Alperton will be Shared Ownership. Shared ownership homes cannot be classified as Social homes and one wonders why they come under the “New Council Homes Programme”. The Council very clearly state that they are not social homes, but see them as an investment as all maintenance and remedial work will be paid for by the “Shared Owners”. See Paragraphs 1.5 and 13.4.
Also of note is that 57 of the true additonal Council Homes at Council rents to be delivered this Financial Year, are Assisted Independent Living homes. So between 2019 and 2022 only 95 true additional Council Homes at Council rent for families will be delivered, out of a claimed 579 New Council Homes. The NAIL(New Assisted Independent Living) programme was set up by Brent to reduce the strain on Adult Social care budgets, and not to reduce the Council Housing waiting list. People elligible to move into the NAIL units would typically have to be housed in a Care Home. The benefit for the Council in building NAIL housing units is clear financially, as the care component and the housing component costs are separated, thus only the care cost is paid out of the Adult Social Care Budget, while the housing cost is paid via the Housing Revenue Account or by the private individual. Thus it is difficult to understand how these “NAIL” units will help meet the 2 first objectives of the “New Council Homes” programme as referred above. Nail Programme Report for reference.
PREDICTED DELIVERY FINANCIAL YEAR 2022-23 259 new Homes, but only 158 are under Construction.
Of these 259 homes to be delivered in that financial year 74 are “NAIL” homes, or 29%, and construction has started on only 158 Homes, of which 61 are NAIL homes.
PREDICTED DELIVERY FINANCIAL YEAR 2023-24 164 new Homes
|Stage||Street Names||Ward||No of Homes||Date of Completion||Date of Occupation||Use||Tenancy||Type of Housing|
|Planning Permission||Morland Gardens||Harlesden||65||Aug-2024||N/A||General Accomodation||Council||Additional Council Homes|
|Planning Permission||Church End||Dudden Hill||99||01/03/2024 –||N/A||General Accomodation||Council||Additional Council Homes|
Now it is difficult to believe that the 65 homes in Morland Gardens will be delivered by end of Financial year 2024. The Council had not managed to source a construction company in August 2021. There is an additonal site with planning permission but no communicated delivery date, for 67 in Twybridge-Stonebridge, thus these homes cannot be counted in the delivery programme be end of financial year 2023/24
SUMMARY OF DELIVERY for 2019/2024
This summary doesn’t include the Twybridge scheme as no delivery date has been supplied. Total homes delivered/to be delivered 1002. But would you consider all the homes included in the “New Council Homes Programme” as homes that will help reduce the Council Housing Waiting list and the number of household living in temporary accommodation?
- NAIL (Assisted Independent Living) 142 Homes (14%)- unlikely reduction in Council Housing waiting list as explained above.
- Homes at London Affordable Rent level 92 homes (9%)- unlikely reduction in Council Housing waiting list, as rents much higher than Council rents and Housing Associations social rents.
- Temporary Accommodation 92 Homes (9%)- no reduction in Council Housing Waiting list. The tenants will still be on the Council Housing waiting list
- Replacement Council homes in South Kilburn 209 homes (21%) – These homes although allocated to some previous Temporary tenants in South Kilburn, replace homes that were occupied by assured council tenants that mostly have been moved to Housing Association homes, and thus where the Council have transfered their responsiblity for their housing to Housing Associations.
- Shared Ownership homes 23 homes (2%)- unlikely reduction of Council Housing waiting list
- Additional Council Homes at Council rent levels for assured tenancy 444 homes (44%)- reduction in Council Housing waiting list although some of these homes will or have been allocated to existing Council tenants, moving due to regeneration. In April 2021 223 Council homes were empty, 117 in Kilburn!
This is a far cry from the 1600 Council homes that Hakeem Osinaike is proudly saying will be delivered by 2024 by Brent Council.
There are other schemes in the pipeline, but without planning permission in September 2021, it is unlikely that delivery will take place by April 2024.
So when you read tweets like the one below, be aware that what is described as a new Council Home, is a newly built housing unit, owned by the Council but is not necessarily an additional Council Home for assured tenants at Council Rent level. One has to wonder what the 700+ “genuinely affordable” homes will be as well.
Brent Council is certainly doing a lot to increase the supply of additional genuine Council Homes at Council rent level for assured tenants, but probably not quite as much as what they would like us all to believe. The slogan is rather deceptive, don’t you think?
Additional data below.
Distribution of the additional 444 genuine new Council Homes at Council Rent level for assured tenants by ward 2019-2024
Distribution of new Assisted Independent Living homes by ward
Nail Programme , 23/06/2021- THMJ.co.uk. https://www.themj.co.uk/Temporary-housing-that-feels-like-home/220816, 12/05/2021- Knowles house press release by Brent Council https://www.brent.gov.uk/council-news/may-2021/last-bricks-are-laid-for-149-new-homes-in-harlesden/, 21/04/2020- Purchase of 114 affordable homes in Alperton https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=5012, 9th December 2019- Cabinet report- Programme Update https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s92438/07.%20New%20Council%20Homes%20Programme%20Final%20v4.0.pdf, 20/07/20 NCHP update https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s99906/13.%20NCHP%20-%20July%202020.pdf, 12/01/2021 Cabinet meeting Affordable housing update (Information unreadable or missing) https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s106343/11.%20Affordable%20Housing%20Update.pdf, 19/01/21Brent New Council Homes Development Programme and Affordable Housing Scrutiny Committee.https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=52875, 19/07/2021 Cabinet meeting 6 month update https://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s112330/07.%20Affordable%20Homes%20Programme.pdf