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Home Office Consultation: Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments

The modern equivalent of John Major’s power grab for the Country Landowners’ Association, attacking gypsies, travellers and ravers in the 1994 Criminal Justice Act.

Open consultation

Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments

Summary

Consultation on measures to criminalise trespassing when setting up an unauthorised encampment in England and Wales.

This consultation closes in March 2020

Consultation description

We would like to consult on measures to criminalise the act of trespassing when setting up an unauthorised encampment in England and Wales.

We would also like to consult on what an alternative approach to this could be:

  • amending section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to permit the police to direct trespassers to suitable authorised sites located in neighbouring local authority areas
  • amending sections 61 and 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to increase the period of time in which trespassers directed from land would be unable to return from 3 months to 12 months
  • amending section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to lower the number of vehicles needing to be involved in an unauthorised encampment before police powers can be exercised from six to two or more vehicles
  • amending section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to enable the police to remove trespassers from land that forms part of the highway

Documents

Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments: consultation document 281KB, 27 pages

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Ways to respond

or

Email to:

UnauthorisedEncampmentsConsultation@homeoffice.gov.uk

Write to:

Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments consultation,
Police Powers Unit,
6th Floor NW, Fry Building,
Home Office,
2 Marsham Street,
London,
SW1P 4DF

‘I swapped £580 a month rent for a converted horse-box – the housing crisis forced us to look for alternative options’

A growing number are being priced out of private renting, with some living as van dwellers in converted vehicles

https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/housing-crisis-van-life-van-dwellers-636977

Wednesday, 25th September 2019,

Beccy, a 36 year-old from Bristol, works part time as a sustainable travel officer. She is really passionate about her work but chooses not to do it full-time so she can also dedicate time to climate crisis action group Extinction Rebellion.

All of this, she says, is possible because for the last three years she has reduced her cost of living. Previously a private renter paying £580 a month, she now lives in a converted 1990 horsebox lorry. She paid £2,500 for it and estimates spending a total of £7,000 converting it.

She says it costs her £255 a month to run including rent for her park-up, water, insurance, gas, vehicle tax, wifi, fuel and trips to the laundrette as she doesn’t have a washing machine on board. “In terms of what I’m saving on rent, it pays for itself,” she tells i.

These monthly savings enable Beccy to do more of what she loves, which also includes volunteering with the Land Justice Network – a campaign group that argues for fairer distribution of land in Britain.

What’s more, it feels like home. “My ex-boyfriend and I spent about six months converting the lorry. It’s like a log cabin now, we used lots of reclaimed wood. It feels very homely. We were keen to avoid the plastic fantastic feeling of so many motorhomes.”

The inside of Beccy’s converted horse box

The catalyst for Beccy’s lifestyle change was the constant, claustrophobic awareness of rising house prices in Bristol.

“Back in 2014, my ex-boyfriend and I started talking about other ways to live,” she explains. “We wanted to escape the rental/mortgage trap but still have our own home. We would really have struggled to buy a house in the UK and didn’t want to sign up to 30 or 40 years of financial pressure to pay it off regardless. For our generation and younger generations a mortgage is either inaccessible or incarcerating. As people who value our freedom and a good work-life balance, we needed to find a more affordable way to have our own home.”

The housing situation is, at Bristol City Council’s own admission, particularly bad in this part of the south west. As they noted in a report last year: “The average house price in Bristol was £282,624, some 21.4 per cent higher than the UK average.” The latest figures forecast house and rental prices will continue to increase here.

Beccy’s shed from the inside

With younger generations today buying homes later than their parents and grandparents did and often at a higher price in relation to their wages, Beccy’s concerns are very real.

“We have a culture in the UK where you aspire to buy your own home whatever the cost,” she adds, “but many people can’t get past paying their rent every month to save up for a house. It just seems like a complete waste of money to handover so much of your earnings to pay for someone else’s house.”

Living in a van wasn’t necessarily her first choice, though. She also looked at shipping containers but ruled that option out “due to the issue of obtaining planning permission and the cost of land”. She couldn’t afford to buy a boat, another obvious alternative, and so she settled on converting a lorry.

Of course, for some communities, a nomadic life on the road is nothing new. The UK’s Gypsy and Traveller communities have a long heritage and according to the latest Government data, they make up 22,662 caravans in England alone.

Beccy and others like her who have looked to van dwelling more recently in search of a more affordable way of life are part of what is sometimes referred to as the “new traveller” movement by sociologists like Rhiannon Craft at Cardiff University.

Beccy says she has everything she needs, down to a compost toilet and “a small shower which also doubles up as coat storage when its not in use”. The only snag is that every night, she must think about where to park her home.

Beccy’s shower and toilet

“I have a semi permanent park-up which is quite public but on private land. I have been really lucky to find it as it’s incredibly hard to find places to park off the street,” she explains. She is very careful not to reveal the exact location because Bristol’s van dwellers are currently at loggerheads with Bristol City Council. Earlier this month, the council announced a new policy for moving on what they call these “encampments”.

Over the last year, according to a council report, it has moved what it calls “encampments” of 200 converted vans on from more than 12 locations on residential streets around the city because of concerns they were having “a significant impact on public health and safety”. As such, the council now has a policy in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police of intervening when they believe an encampment is “unauthorised”, a danger to health and safety or causing problems for the local community.

“The City has experienced a relatively high level of encampments including those of vehicle dwellers and gypsies and travellers – some of these have caused considerable social tensions and environmental impact which needs effective management,” the report reads. “Between January 2016 and November 2017 Bristol City Council had approximately 100 vehicle dwellers living on the highway at any one time. There were also 21 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller encampments across the City. The number of occupied vehicles on the highway is currently estimated to be 200.”

Mark* is a 37-year-old truck driver from Bristol. He has also been living in a converted lorry with his wife for three years.

In response, to this Craft has put together a petition with more than 1,000 signatures arguing that the council’s policies were “discriminatory”. She thinks van dwellers need permanent sites.

“The public has been quite divided on the issue,” she tells i. “Many wanted to see better accommodation of van dwellers via site provision, which echoes calls what people have been saying for decades since that was repealed under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA). However, others wanted authorities to get tougher.”

Craft says the housing crisis in Bristol is “unusually pronounced” and as a result, “many people have been providing for themselves via van dwelling in the absence of adequate state intervention.”

“If we actually consider van dwelling a kind of housing – which it is and has been for many communities for a long time – we can see that this is a housing crisis in itself. There is a real shortage of sites and authorised stopping places, and many travellers have been forced into bricks and mortar against their will,” she adds.

The interior of Mark’s converted truck

Mark* is a 37-year-old truck driver from Bristol. He has also been living in a converted lorry with his wife for three years. He tells i that it was poor standards in the private rented sector that pushed them to make the move.

“The biggest reason was that our rented flat, which we had lived in for about five years, was in really bad condition. There was a huge mould problem. There was black mould everywhere and the landlord didn’t do anything to sort it out – he didn’t want to spend the money to sort it out. There was also rising damp.”

The final straw came, Mark says, when their landlord said he was going to put the rent up. “We just thought, why are we being asked to pay more money for a flat which isn’t up to being lived in? We started looking at other flats in the area but in the five year period that we had been renting our flat, prices had skyrocketed. We were paying about £550 a month and prices had almost doubled. We were looking at £900 a month for a one bedroom flat which we couldn’t afford at all.”

Mark had some money saved and he and his wife calculated that it would be cheaper over the long term to buy a lorry and convert it than to continue private renting. He says their physical and mental health has now improved, and he questions the council’s argument that van dwelling that van dwelling is not a safe, long term option.

The living space of their converted truck

“I’ve never been healthier in my life,” Mark adds, “I’m not working 50 or 60 hours a week to pay for a rented flat. I’ve actually even joined the gym since I stopped renting because I’ve got the money to do it. Living in a mouldy flat is not healthy.”

Beccy agrees. “The housing market has changed,” she concludes. “We need new innovative solutions which allow people to choose alternative lifestyles and are affordable.” She thinks those who choose to live in vans in Bristol should have the right to permanent or semi-permanent places to park them.

“The best thing about living in a vehicle is having a cosy little home that is my own,” she says. “People often think it would be the freedom to move around but for me, the freedom comes not with the ability to move my home but to limit the financial pressures and have more time to volunteer and pursue other things.”

Mark’s converted lorry

A Bristol City Council spokesperson told i: “Earlier this month, we adopted a new policy for dealing with different types of encampments, which takes into account the fact that rough sleeping and living in a vehicle can be very different circumstances, and for some people, vehicle dwelling is a lifestyle choice.”

“We have considered providing a permanent site for vehicle dwellers; however, we have a duty of care to everyone in the city and don’t believe that sleeping in a vehicle is necessarily a safe, long term option. However, where vehicle dwellers are not causing problems for their neighbours, then we will respect their choices and allow them to stay where they are in the short term. Ultimately, we are committed to helping people find more sustainable housing options and where people are living in vehicles due to the housing crisis we will ensure that they are aware of their rights to apply for housing.”

Anna Minton: Private equity firms gobble up property and wreak havoc on tenants’ lives

Multibillion-pound firms like Blackstone have become leading property players. People who need homes are paying the price

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/20/ruthless-private-equity-firms-gobble-up-property-wreak-havoc-on-tenants-lives
Anna Minton Fri 20 Sep 2019 08.12 BST

Parents at the Fount nursery in London’s East End were taken aback recently when fees for their children’s care went up by more than £200 a month.

The reason for the price hike? The nursery is based in a former railway arch and there had been a massive 49.2% increase in rent by the new landlord, US private equity firm Blackstone, following a £1.5bn sell-off by Network Rail of network arches around the UK.

Blackstone and Telereal Trillium

 Blackstone and Telereal Trillium’s ‘dodgy hand-shaker’ acquisition of arches from Network Rail has been controversial. Photograph: Jack Taylor

On 13 September, the Commons public accounts committee issued a scathing report on the controversial sale of thousands of railway arches to a joint venture between Blackstone and Telereal Trillium. The MPs accused Network Rail of selling off a profitable asset for short-term gain, with a loss of income of at least £80m and potentially up to £160m a year. They also said the sale would mean fewer rights for future tenants, as well as denying existing tenants the option to extend their leases.

Rachel Munro-Peebles, who owns the nursery, faced a difficult decision: close the nursery or increase fees. She describes Blackstone as “ruthless”, pursuing a hardcore increase in rent that threatens the survival of her business. Hence the unpleasant news for parents.

But few of them would realise what they have in common with similar rent rises faced by a baker in Berlin, a bar owner in Toronto, and tenants in housing in Stockholm or Madrid.

The common factor is £6.7bn private equity behemoth Blackstone, now reported to be the biggest landlord in the world. It manages assets worth £123bn, including property in parts of Berlin, Toronto, Madrid, Dublin and Stockholm, where it is the biggest private owner of low-income housing

Local battles against rising rents, such as the protests against plans to redevelop railway arches in Brixton, where only nine of the original 39 businesses remain, are often reported as struggles against gentrification. But this is not gentrification. This is not about working-class areas being taken over by incoming hipsters and middle-class residents and businesses.

This is another phenomenon entirely. This is about how global private equity firms have become leading players in the property market since the 2008 crash. This was predicted by the late geographer Neil Smith in the 1970s, who argued that when the gap becomes big enough between the rent a property earns and what it could earn if redeveloped for new residents, private capital would flow in, attracted by the potential to make large profits.

The result is that since the financial crisis, many parts of London and other cities have become unrecognisable. UN special rapporteur on housing and human rights Leilani Farha says the commodification of real estate by private equity investors in recent years had made housing for many people increasingly expensive and precarious. “Landlords have become faceless corporations wreaking havoc with tenants’ right to security,” said Farha earlier this year, in a stinging critique of the role of companies like Blackstone in contributing to the global housing crisis.

She has written to Blackstone and to government officials in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the US, accusing the company of undertaking “aggressive evictions” to protect its rental income streams, shrinking the pool of affordable housing in some areas and effectively pushing low- and middle-income tenants from their homes. Her work on this has also been highlighted in a recent documentary by Swedish film-maker Fredrik Gertten.

On its website, Blackstone, which disputed the claims and said the UN report contained “numerous false claims, significant factual errors and inaccurate conclusions”, tells investors it seeks to “acquire high quality investments at discounts to replacement cost” – corporate speak for buying up assets cheap. It particularly favours what economists call “distressed markets”, as these have the greatest potential for capital growth. This includes repossessed homes in the US and Spain as well as increased activity in the UK – the company recently made a controversial move into the UK’s low-income housing market through for-profit housing provider Sage.

Following the financial crash Stephen Schwarzman, the company’s billionaire chief executive, described Blackstone’s strategy in Europe as “basically waiting to see how beaten up people’s psyches get, and where they’re willing to sell assets … You want to wait until there’s really blood in the streets.” Schwarzman recently gave Oxford University £150m – its largest single donation since the Renaissance – to fund a humanities centre that will be named after him. It’s a move to burnish his image that is unlikely to allay concerns about his company’s activities.

Meanwhile, despite reassurances from the company that now owns so many former railway arches, local communities remain fearful, including Munro-Peebles, who says Blackstone isn’t listening to any of its tenants. “How are we supposed to survive?”

Duke of Westminster dishes out latest round of central London social cleansing eviction notices

Billionaire Duke to kick families out of council homes to build luxury flats
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/billionaire-duke-kick-families-out-18998472

EXCLUSIVE: Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, has been accused of ‘social cleansing’

By Alan Selby 24 AUG 2019

A billionaire Duke has been accused of “social cleansing” for planning to boot 40 families out of council homes to make way for luxury flats.

Hugh Grosvenor, 28, the Duke of Westminster, is the world’s wealthiest person aged under 30 after inheriting his title three years ago.

His property group Grosvenor aims to demolish Walden House, which it leases to Westminster Council, by 2023 and replace it with shops and homes, including social housing.

A total of 141 people, eight disabled, have been told to leave the homes they have lived in for up to 40 years.

Hugh Grosvenor is the 7th Duke of Westminster

They can apply for new homes up to 12 miles away but some fear a life on the streets after being told of decades-long waits on housing lists.

NHS PA Liza Begum, 34, who has been at Walden House all her life, said: “It’s social cleansing.”

Families now paying £600 a month for a two-bed council flat fear they won’t get a chance to live in the new development alongside luxury properties.

Liza said the residents were told only in March, seven years after private tenants in neighbouring flats.

She said: “What do Grosvenor expect us to do?

“Move from a place we’ve been for 30-plus years and start again? It’s ridiculous.”

A petition against the Duke’s plans has more than 100,000 signatures.

Grosvenor said it wanted more affordable housing in the area and had delayed demolition from 2021 to 2023 to give residents more time.

“We have been providing tailored support over and above what is required to help residents,” it said.

The council said: “We negotiated a two-year extension to the lease, to 2023, to allow more time to find residents accommodation.

All will be offered suitable alternative council accommodation within Westminster.”

Sign the petition at change.org.

UK on verge of second traveller revolution? Asking experts from the 1970s and 80s

Do benefit cuts mean UK is on verge of second traveller ‘revolution’? With two experts from the 1970s/80s Series: Bristol Broadband Co-operative Program Type: Weekly Program

Featured Speakers/Commentators: Contributor: Bristol Broadband Co-operative http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/98859

Summary: Author of The Battle of the Beanfield, which describes the police attack on hundreds of travellers in convoy toward Stonehenge festival, Andy Worthington and traveller Sean join us to discuss the social and political reasons why the UK’s 1970s and 1980s ‘New Age’ travellers appeared when they did. Sean trained as an HGV mechanic so was helping maintain many vehicles, he describes life on the road, the practicalities of moving night after night and relations with neighbours and the police. Sean was at important festivals such as ‘Nostell Priory’. Ultimately the traveller convoy was part of a wider ‘movement’ against the changes being brought in by the Thatcher government, forced repeated evictions by landowners and, since they had been forced out of permanent ‘bricks and mortar’ homes to live out of vehicles, was about land rights and property.

Nostell Priory festival 1984 http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/theakstons-nostell-priory.html

On June 1st 1985, a convoy of new travellers, peace protesters, green activists and festival-goers set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. There were around 450 people in total, and they included a number of women and children. They never reached their destination. Eight miles from the Stones they were ambushed, assaulted and arrested with unprecedented brutality by a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 officers drawn from six counties and the MoD. That event has gone down in history as ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’. This book is the combined effort of a large number of people who feel passionately that only through reaching an understanding of what actually occurred before, during and after ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ can a proper ‘closure’ take place for those involved and the many people who have been in some way touched by it.

The Battle of the Beanfield

UN climate report: Change land use to arable to avoid a hungry future?

UN climate report: Change land use to avoid a hungry future

[NOTE: Arable is a more efficient use of land, food health, protein and calorie wise, than livestock farming except on marginal land like hills. So for that reason alone the UN are heading in the right direction.

But hunger has little to do with land use or climate, its much more about land ownership and the financial system, incentives and subsidies. ed. TG]

GENEVA (AP) — Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the Earth’s land and the way people use the land is making global warming worse, a new United Nations scientific report says. That creates a vicious cycle which is already making food more expensive, scarcer and less nutritious.
“The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the report. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.”
But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said.
Earth’s land masses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world Thursday at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings.

“The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.”

Scientists at Thursday’s press conference emphasized both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon.

“We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference.”

Still the stark message hit home hard for some of the authors.

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep about what the science is saying. As a person, it’s pretty scary,” Koko Warner, a manager in the U.N. Climate Change secretariat who helped write a report chapter on risk management and decision-making, told The Associated Press after the report was presented at the World Meteorological Organization headquartersin Geneva. “We need to act urgently.”

The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to the forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth.

“Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study.

And the future could be worse.

“The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said.

In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now.

“The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” NASA’s Rosenzweigsaid. “Just to give examples, the crop yields were effected in Europe just in the last two weeks.”

Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops.

For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6% to 13% less protein, 4% to 7% less zinc and 5% to 8% less iron, she said.

But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer applications — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said.

The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice.

Still, Hans-Otto Pörtner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016, global food waste accounted for 8% to 10% of heat-trapping emissions.

“Currently 25%-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land.

With just another 0.9 degrees F of warming (0.5 degrees C), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said.

At another 1.8 degrees F of warming (1 degree C) from now, which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.”

Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid-to-late 21st century,” the report noted.

Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said.

But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air.

From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out.

“This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot, a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continue to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.”

Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said.

Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report,” Pörtner said.

Saying “our current way of living and our economic system risks our future and the future of our children,” Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, questioned whether it makes sense for a country like Germany to import large amounts of soy from Latin America, where forests are being destroyed to plant the crop, to feed unsustainable numbers of livestock in Germany.

“We ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it,” said Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report.

___

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein reported from Washington. Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin.

Social Housing under siege – on centenary of 1919 Addison Act which began huge UK council housing programme

‘Its time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.’

31Jul19
[]The unnecessary destruction of Robin Hood Gardens Estate in Poplar, in east London, March 2018, to make way for a new private development, Blackwall Reach (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Today, July 31, is the centenary of the first Housing and Town Planning Act (widely known as the Addison Act), which was introduced by the Liberal politician Christopher Addison, as part of David Lloyd Georges coalition government following the First World War, to provide Britains first major council housing programme, as John Boughton, the author of Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing, explained in an article published yesterday in the Guardian.

Boughton explained how, when Addison introduced his flagship housing bill to the House of Commons in April 1919, he spoke of its utmost importance, from the point of view not only of the physical wellbeing of our people, but of our social stability and industrial content.

‘Between 1920 and 1980 the British government built around six million council houses’ says Tony Gosling

As we celebrate the centenary of council housing, Boughton noted, this sentiment is not lost in the context of the current housing crisis. From the rise in expensive, precarious and often poor-quality private renting to the dwindling dream of home-ownership, it is fuelling discontent. This escalating crisis means that increasing numbers of people are now forced to deal with the painful consequences of the country’s inability to provide such a basic human need a stable, affordable home.

Philanthropists had been creating social housing since the 1840s, beginning with Model Dwellings Companies (privately run companies that sought a return for investors while providing affordable housing for the working class), and the Peabody Donation Fund (now Peabody), founded by the London-based US banker George Peabody, whose aim was to ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of this great metropolis, and to promote their comfort and happiness, and whose first project, on Commercial Street in Spitalfields, opened in 1864.

The first council-built housing was created in Liverpool in 1869, and in 1890, as Boughton put it, a Housing Act established the legislative powers and machinery of state for the expansion of council housing. He added, however, that only around 24,000 council homes were built nationally before 1914.

In contrast, as he described it, the 1919 Addison Act was a housing revolution – and while Addison’s motives were commendable, it must be noted that it took the horrors of the First World War and the housing plight of those who survived it for the British establishment as a whole to embrace the need for a major programme of genuinely affordable housing.

As he proceeded to explain, It required not only that all local authorities conduct a survey of housing needs within just three months but that they actively prepare plans to meet them. Beyond what could be raised locally by a penny on the rates, the cost of building these new homes was to be met entirely by the Treasury. The act also insisted on high-quality housing, taking its cue from the wartime Tudor Walters Report, which had recommended cottage homes with front and back gardens, bathrooms and pantries at no more than 12 to the acre.

Unfortunately, as Boughton proceeded to explain, in a post-war era of materials and labour shortages, construction costs were unprecedentedly high at around 1,000 per house, up to three times the cost of pre-war production and his programme fell victim to public spending cuts. Just 176,000 homes had been built in England and Wales of the 500,000 Lloyd George had promised, and Addison resigned from both the government and the Liberal party in protest, later joining the Labour Party, where he served under Ramsay MacDonald, and became Leader of the House of Lords during Clement Attlee’s extraordinary post-WWII government.

Following Addison’s resignation, there was a revival of council-built housing via other housing acts in the 1920s, although, as Boughton noted, the houses were typically smaller and plainer than those envisaged in 1919. In the 1930s, when the Labour politician Herbert Morrison undertook a visionary expansion of council housing in London as the leader of the London County Council (LCC), further housing bills, which particularly took aim at slum clearances and introduced rent rebates also addressed what Boughton described as one serious deficiency in Addison’s reforms that their relatively high rents excluded the slum population most in need of rehousing.

The horror of another war the Second World War and, again, the plight of returning soldiers paved the way for the British establishment to once more accept the need for another major programme of genuinely affordable housing, as part of the astonishing post-war government led by Clement Attlee, which also established the NHS and consolidated the welfare state.

From then until 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and set about destroying council housing through her Right to Buy policy, cutting funding for maintenance, and introducing an absolute prohibition on councils spending money from the sale of homes to build new council housing council housing was promoted by both Labour and Conservative governments, ensuring that, for most of the preceding 60 years, after the 1919 Addison Act, there was, as Boughton put it, a broad cross-party consensus that accepted the necessity of state intervention to build the homes the country needed.

As Boughton also explained, One common factor underlay both eras of reform under Addison and Nye Bevan and it provides the single constant in the long history of what is now referred to as social housing: that is the inability of the free market and the unwillingness of the private sector to provide decent, affordable housing to those in greatest need.

40 years on from the start of Margaret Thatchers assault on social housing, Britains housing crisis has become nothing short of a disaster. Thatcher presided over a housing bubble, but also a subsequent crash, when numerous homeowners were caught in a negative equity trap. The market remained cool throughout John Majors premiership, but when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, ending 18 years of Tory rule, it didnt take long for another colossal housing bubble to develop one that continues to plague us today, with house prices at an all-time high, private rents unfettered and out of control, and social housing still chronically undermined. Blair failed to roll back Thatchers Right to Buy project, and also failed to establish the need for a major social homebuilding programme, and, throughout London, and across the country, Labour councils persistently failed to defend council housing, instead launching estate demolition programmeswith private developers that have drastically reduced the numbers of social homes available.

Since 2010, the Tories have only added fuel to this blazing fire of inequality, slashing subsidies for social homebuilding and encouraging housing associations like Peabody to lose touch with their founders aims by becoming, essentially, private developers with a sideline in social housing. Moreover, when Boris Johnson was Londons Mayor, he set affordable rents at 80% of market rents (as opposed to social rents at around 30% of market rents), and this injustice has, typically, not been adequately addressed by the Labour Party, or by the major housing associations. Since replacing Johnson in 2016, Sadiq Khan has set up a sliding scale of allegedly affordable rents, all of which are considerably more expensive than social rents London Affordable Rent (over 60% higher for a two-bedroom flat), and London Living Rent (over 130% higher).

For more information, see Andy Worthington’s articles, The Eviction of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden and the Mainstream Medias Inadequacy in Reporting Stories About Social Homes and Affordable Rents, Video: I Discuss the Tidemill Eviction, the Broken Regeneration Industry and Sadiq Khans Stealthy Elimination of Social Rents, as well as Shame on Peabody: Calling on the Former Philanthropic Social Housing Provider to Abandon Its Plans to Destroy the Old Tidemill Garden and Social Housing in Deptford and A Radical Proposal to Save the Old Tidemill Garden and Reginald House in Deptford: Use Besson Street, an Empty Site in New Cross.

The result of the last 40 years of politicians eroding social housing and doing nothing to rein in greed in the housing market is akin to another war, but this time a cannibalistic war waged by British citizens on their less well-off fellow citizens, as those with mortgages taken out before the bubble have seen insane returns on their original investments, and, at the same time, absolutely no legislation exists to prevent those who take out buy to let mortgages from exploiting their tenants as much as they wish, while those fortunate enough to live in properties at social rent myself included are part of an ever-diminishing minority, and, since 2010, have lived in fear that the Tories will pass legislation intended to fully exterminate social housing, or, if they live on a council estate, that Labour councillors will vote to demolish their homes.

Its time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.

Note: If youre interested in doing something to mark 100 years since the Addison Act, please sign Shelters petition calling for the government to build more social housing, and watch George Clarkes excellent Channel 4 documentary, George Clarkes Council House Scandal, which was broadcast this evening, and in which George called on the government to build 100,000 council homes a year, and to suspend Right to Buy. An article by George, entitled, We dont just need more council houses we need the very best in space and ecological standards, is here.

 

If you own land you can build a home on it: Russia changes law to replace planning permission with simple notification scheme

WITH THE ABOLITION OF BUILDING PERMITS IN RUSSIA, REGISTRATION OF HOUSES IN PROPERTY HAS BECOME MUCH EASIER

Olga Golovetsky

[Story courtesy of Yuriy Smirnov, many thanks]
Notice of individual housing construction and registration of houses

Notice of individual housing construction and registration of houses

How to register private houses after the cancellation of the building permit.

In the summer of 2018 entered into force the Law of the Russian Federation No. 340 substantially amended certain provisions of the town planning code and some other legislative acts.

The SPC “Nagkagusto” explained that now private developers are not required permission for construction or reconstruction of residential buildings. It is enough to send her notice of the proposed construction on the relevant form approved by Order of the Ministry of the Russian Federation. As for houses, the simplified procedure of registration of the Declaration and techplan still valid for 2 months — in January and February. This is particularly important for owners of the already built cottages and houses.Those who are just beginning the construction of housing, must be submitted to the local authority a notice of its beginning, which is from March 1, 2019 becomes binding.

The main changes in the design of the building by law

The amendments focus primarily on the requirements of individual housing construction (IZHS). On the one hand they aimed at the simplification of individual housing construction on the lands of settlements and gardeners, on the other hand, the prevention and elimination of ongoing violations in this area.

So, from now on, the legislation imposes restrictions on the size of the constructed residential buildings. It can be detached homes up to 3 floors above ground and not more than 20 m, which are represented as a single object of real estate.Thus, excluding the possibility of building houses for their further division into a number of owners, the legislator addresses the possibility of construction of a dwelling house under the guise of individual housing or townhouses, presenting them as cottages. In this case, it turned out that one plot of six acres had to own a few property owners.And it allowed each of them to sue the allocation of their respective share in kind.

Registration of unfinished buildingsRegistration of unfinished buildingsDesign of buildings and houses under the new rules is based on the technical plan that forms the cadastral engineer. When the construction for any…# building Homes and apartmentsWelcomed 340 Law No. members of gardening non-profit associations (SNT). This year, each of them has the right to build on his land a dwelling house and residing therein, to register his family. Or, if there is on the site of cottage or garden house, to change it to residential. This will allow him to pay for electricity under the new tariff. That is, 30% less, as provided for homes located on land SNT.

The actions of an individual developer prior to and on completion of construction

For the owner of a plot of land in the village or in the CHT who wants to build a new residential or garden house, to start his actions, you must supply the appropriate notification to the local administration. It does not require the provision of urban plan and scheme of the land plot with the future house. The staff of the Commissioner division of administration or self-government body within the working week will verify compliance with the parameters of the future home specified by the developer in its notice, provided by the legislation norms.In the absence of any violations, I will send him a notification about the possibility of building a house on the plot, which is valid for 10 years. This entitles you to the start of construction. But the developer can commence and in the case that such feedback from the administration they have not received. His failure is equivalent to saying that the future construction is compatible.

When construction is completed, the developer is obliged to submit to authorised local notification to the administration in the form prescribed by the Ministry of construction. Attached is the technical plan, the notice of start of construction, a return notification of the authorized body on the results of the verification and Declaration to the house. After that, the local administration or the competent authority checks the house erected on its compliance with the town planning regulations. Which is documented in a notification. After these documents and the technical plan sent to the Federal registration service.Having considered them, the institution puts the building in the cadastre and registers the right of ownership.

Receiving a failure notification about the planned construction

Local property developer might be sent return notification that the parameters of the house, indicated in his notice of upcoming construction, do not correspond to prescribed laws regulations. Or that building a house in the specific area is impossible for technical reasons (for example, above it is a high-voltage power line), in the absence of the developer rights to it or for other reasons. In any case, this means a ban on the construction.But in order not to get into a difficult situation, its better to seek the assistance of competent in this matter entities. Lawyers GKI “Nagkagusto” will help to find the way out of the situation and achieve a positive result. Will issue a notice in accordance with the requirements and gather a full package of documents, which guarantees a positive response from the competent authorities.