Lack of affordable housing in Barnet is now one of the top 2 concerns for local people according to the council’s latest Residents’ Perception Survey.
People are finding it hard to get onto the housing ladder with average house prices in the borough at nearly half a million pounds. Private sector rents are the highest in outer-London with many rented properties poorly managed and maintained.
Homelessness is increasing, and with recent news that Barnet Council is set to increase council rents for new build to 65% of average open market rents from 30%, more and more people will find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt, eviction and homelessness.
Barnet’s Labour councillors have set-up a Housing Commission to look into how Barnet can increase the supply of affordable homes, and help improve standards in the private rented sector.
Our Commission is Chaired by Nicky Gavron AM, and is made up of independent housing experts, local community representatives and Labour councillors. You can find out more about our Commissioners here.
The Commission will meet at least six times over the next 8 months, and will be taking evidence from housing professionals, other London boroughs and the local community. The meetings will all be open to the public to attend.
Our launch event and first evidence session took place on Thursday 20 November at the Crown Moran Hotel on Cricklewood Broadway, with Guest Speaker Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council – thanks to all who participated! You can see footage here from the meeting courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.
We held our second evidence session on Monday 1 December at the Rainbow Centre on Dollis Valley Drive, and heard evidence from private tenants’ rights campaigner, Jacky Peacock OBE, Roz Spencer, Rogue Landlord Taskforce Co-ordinator, LB Lewisham, Duncan Bowie, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning at the University of Westminster, Professor Marjorie Mayo & Ines Newman, authors of ‘Tackling the housing crisis‘ and Maria Brenton, co-founder of Older Women’s CoHousing (Owch). You can see footage from that meeting here – courtesy of the Barnet Bugle once more.
Our third evidence session took place on Monday 8 December at the Friern Barnet Community Library. We heard from Sarah Sackman – Public Law Barrister and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Finchley & Golders Green, Alison Inman – Board Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Tenant Participation Advisory Service, and steering group member of SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat), Kate Murray – former Editor of Inside Housing and steering group member of SHOUT, Cllr Phil Glanville – Cabinet Member for Housing, LB Hackney and Cllr James Murray – Cabinet Member for Housing, LB Islington. Footage of this session can be viewed here – courtesy of the Barnet Bugle as ever.
Our fourth evidence session took place on Thursday 8 January at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Christine Hynes – CEO of Climate Energy Homes, Andrew Dismore – Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hendon, Dan Knowles – Director of Sawyer Fielding, Cllr Stephen Cowan – Leader of LB Hammersmith & Fulham,Jasmin Parsons – Our West Hendon and Janette Evans – Barnet Housing Action Group. Footage of this session can be found here courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.
Our fifth evidence session took place on Monday 23 February at the Grahame Park Community Centre in Colindale. We heard evidence from Cllr Barry Rawlings – the Barnet Labour Group’s Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson, Cllr Mick O’Sullivan – Chair of the London Federation of Housing Co-ops, and Chair of Islington’s Housing Scrutiny Committee, Cllr David Rodgers – former CEO of CDS Co-operatives, the largest co-operative housing service agency in the UK, former President of the International Co-operative Alliance (Housing) and the Deputy Cabinet for Housing at LB Ealing, John Dix – aka Mr Reasonable,Theresa Musgrove – aka Mrs Angry of the Broken Barnet blog, Patrick Hunter – Unison convenor, Barnet Homes, Cllr Nagus Narenthira – NASUWT and Labour councillor in Colindale. Footage of this session can be found here courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.
Our sixth evidence session took place on Wednesday 8 July at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Nicholas Boys Smith – Founder of Create Streets, Maggie Rafalowicz – Campbell Tickell, Tom Copley AM, and Keith Nason – Secretary of Barnet NUT.
Our final public evidence session took place on Thursday 10 September at 7.30pm – once again at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Daren Nathan, Development Director at Durkan and Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration, LB Haringey.
Over September and October we have continued to take evidence from other London boroughs, and other organisations including housing associations in Wales, and so our report has been delayed and will be launched on Monday 25 January. To attend the launch event please RSVP here.
We look forward to seeing you at our report launch event!
Cllr Alison Moore, Joint Vice Chair, Housing Commission and London Assembly list candidate
Cllr Ross Houston, Joint Vic Chair, Housing Commission and Labour’s Housing Spokesperson