Why the need for Housing Zones?

HousingAt yesterday’s Housing Committee we were presented a presentation explaining to us what Housing Zones were all about, but l was immediately intrigued by the first slide above.  This shows were most of the homes that the Mayor has started with his housing investment budgets have emerged from over the period 2011-13. Quite clearly the Mayor has been dependent on boroughs like Tower Hamlets to produce over 3,901 starts to deliver his programme commitments to the electorate. This while other boroughs like the City of Westminster have not been able to produce more than 400 starts for the Mayor. Now given the former is a political ally of  Boris Johnson it is some what surprising what little assistance City of Westminster has been to the Mayor. While in contrast a borough like Tower Hamlets, has helped start almost 10 times as many starts for the Mayor than City of Westminster yet is certainly not allied with him politically.

It was explained to us how these zones were bidder for by boroughs as £ 200m allocation from GLA housing capital budgets were kept aside for it while the bids were judged for their planning, financial & “new model” packages. The successful bids came from boroughs like Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth boroughs already helping to deliver the Mayors programme. But alas not in boroughs like Richmond, Kingston, Harrow, Sutton which were not helping in the first place. Surely bids should have been encouraged and made in those poorly performing boroughs?

Maybe the Mayor should ask boroughs like City of Westminster to make applications for Housing Zones? But as we know thats not likely from his allies along Victoria St, SW1 as we can see from diagram above!

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