Inside Croydon

Croydon just about ‘average’ for delivering ‘affordable’ homes


Croydon’s only just about average when it comes to delivering affordable housing.

Croydon Council is building 1,000 new homes, but not one of them is a council house

That’s according to figures from the Mayor of London, which shows Croydon outside the top 10 London boroughs for building housing that is “affordable” (which of itself is a misnomer, but more of that later) in the three years, 2013-2016.

Only 25 per cent of housing built in Croydon in that period was “affordable”.

It could be worse. You could live in Bexley. Though you probably couldn’t afford to, as they managed to build hardly any affordable housing in that same period.

The figures are from the annual London Plan monitoring report, covering the period towards the end of Boris Johnson’s time as London Mayor.

The affordable housing table is on page 32 of the Mayor of London’s report.

The Croydon figures will largely reflect the couldn’t-be-arsed approach to affordable housing under the previous Tory regime at the Town Hall, with schemes in the pipeline before 2014 being completed in the last couple of years.

Tony Newman: no plans for council houses

Croydon’s Tories rarely pressed private developers to provide truly affordable homes, and they relied on the measure provided from City Hall which defined “affordable” as homes for social rent, the more expensive “affordable rent” tenure (costing 80 per cent of the market rate in the area; in Croydon, that’s now around £900 per month) and for shared ownership homes.

The London-wide figures show that Waltham Forest was the top-performing borough for affordable housing, with 47 per cent of all new residential dwellings completed in the three years from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016 meeting the definition of affordable.

The proportion of new homes completed across London as a whole that were affordable was 24 per cent. Croydon sneaked just above that level. In terms of total numbers of affordable homes supplied, Croydon had 1,200.

Johnson’s successor as London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has set a long-term goal of bringing the percentage of new homes that he calls “genuinely affordable” to be built in London overall up to 50 per cent.

Croydon Council, under Labour leader Tony Newman, has also embarked on a house-building programme through its Brick by Brick private development company, which set out with the target of 50 per cent affordable homes from 1,000 new builds. However, even under arrangements where Brick by Brick is funded by the council and uses public-owned land and property, they have already dropped off that affordable target, with only 44 per cent of units with planning permission being “affordable”.

And although Brick by Brick is a device intended to get Croydon Council around the strictures of Tory Right-to-Buy rules, not a single one of its planned builds so far is a council house.