Weasel words on affordable housing from the government’s minister

Sajid Javid faces battle over 4% affordable homes in Sainsbury’s scheme

“The housing secretary, Sajid Javid, is facing a legal challenge after he approved a 700-home housing scheme by the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, which includes just 4% affordable housing.

The 29-storey development in Ilford, east London, will be built in a borough that has a stated policy that 50% of all new homes should be affordable. It estimates it needs an extra 15,000 affordable homes in the next 15 years, but Javid backed a scheme with just 27 affordable homes. The rest are expected to be sold for about £400,000 for a two bedroom flat.

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, branded the approval “outrageous” and said 4% was a “disgraceful” contribution. Labour’s shadow housing secretary, John Healey, said it was “a clear case of ministers backing private developer profit over the homes that local people need”.

A local residents group Ilford Noise is now preparing to request a judicial review of the decision after Javid accepted Sainsbury’s claim that the scheme would not be viable with any more affordable units. Javid’s report concluded: “There is no good reason to dispute the agreed conclusions of the financial experts.”

The decision came just weeks after Javid gave a speech insisting it is “totally unacceptable” for developers to claim they cannot afford to meet affordable housing promises.

He said: “It cheats communities of much-needed housing and infrastructure and gives new development a bad name.”

But in this case, where Sainsbury’s never promised more than 4%, he has allowed the developer to hugely undershoot the local target. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/23/sajid-javid-faces-battle-over-4-affordable-homes-in-sainsburys-scheme

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