Affordable housing vital to tackling homelessness

Homelessness is a “national crisis,” according to a committee of MPs, who called the Government’s attitude to tackling the issue “unacceptably complacent.” A Public Accounts Committee report found there were more than 9,000 rough sleepers and some 78,000 families living in temporary accommodation. The cross-party research said there was a shortage of housing options for homeless people and those at risk. BSRIA have stressed that quantity must

not be at the cost of quality, however. Tassos Kougionis, principal consultant – residential at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said: “The increasing number of homeless people in England is very worrying. “An increase in affordable and social housing could be part of the solution. But we need to understand how these should be defined and how they address the different population needs.” While he believes in the urgent need for more social housing, Kougionis made it clear that quality must not suffer as a result. “It is crucial that the necessary housing must be built to standards that meet the needs of differing people, for example homes that are cheap to run. “Providing genuinely affordable

homes, both to rent and to buy, as well as providing financial support to local authorities with acute shortages of suitable housing is paramount.” To address the crisis, BSRIA staged the ‘Building Better Homes Faster 2’ event on Friday 12th January in Canary Wharf, London, focusing on the increased delivery of new homes.

Former OPDC chief exec to head RTPI

Victoria Hills is to become chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, following her resignation from her position as CEO of The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). Victoria has been chief executive of

OPDC since June 2015, and saw its 650 hectare regeneration project in west London put under review by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2016. Khan, commented on her departure: “I would like to thank Victoria for her leadership, commitment and dedication as chief executive of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation. This is one of the most important regeneration sites in London, with the capacity for thousands of genuinely affordable homes.” Victoria Hills herself also gave comment: “It has been my great privilege to have had the opportunity to establish a new Mayoral Development Corporation and to lead an enthusiastic and skilled team with whom I have been able to create a vision and framework for delivering this enormously complex project.

“I shall be watching the development of Old Oak and Park Royal with interest and huge affection, and I wish the team and my successor well in their future endeavours.” Victoria will be leaving OPDC in April. An interim appointment will be confirmed in due course, along with the timetable for recruiting a permanent successor.

No-deal Brexit may cost 43,000 jobs in construction

A no-deal Brexit could cause a loss of up to 43,000 construction jobs in the UK, according to new research commissioned by the Mayor of London. In London alone there could be 5,000

fewer jobs in the construction sector in a no- deal scenario, with the construction sector’s output in the capital potentially falling by £1.2bn, between Britain leaving the EU in April next year and 2030. The findings are contained within analysis of the potential impact of five different Brexit scenarios on London and the whole of the UK commissioned by the Mayor last year from Cambridge Econometrics. The analysis also looks at the impact each Brexit scenario could have on nine key sectors of the economy. Every Brexit outcome analysed would be

bad for the British economy, the survey found, but the research showed that the ‘harder’ the Brexit, the more severe the economic damage could be. It reveals that with no access to the single market, customs unions or transition arrangements, there could be 482,000 fewer jobs across the UK, together with £46.8bn less investment. Even if there is a ‘softer’ Brexit with a two-year transitional deal, and the UK remaining in the single market, there could be 18,000 fewer construction jobs, 2,000 of which would be in the capital. Industry experts suggest that London needs an extra 13,000 construction workers every year until 2021 in order to plug the skills gap. Any reduction in a sector that already faces a major shortage of skills would undoubtably impact on developers’ capacity to meet housing targets both nationally and in the capital.


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