SE23.com - The Official Forum for Forest Hill & Honor Oak, London SE23
Online since 2002  -  10,000+ members

Home | SE23 Topics | Local Businesses | Wider Topics | Offered/Wanted/Lost/Found | Site Feedback | Advertising | Contact
Geddes Hairdressing & Barbering Studio One Armstrong & Co Solicitors


Post Reply  Post Topic 
Pages (5): « First [1] 2 3 4 5 Next > Last »
Does FH Soc want more affordable houses?
Author Message
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #1
16-10-2012 08:48 PM

So that people - the young especially - find it easier to have a decent life, and bring up their kids?

Just so the question is properly understood, affordable is not in quotes, so it should not necessarily be taken as asking if they want more social housing, with rents up to 80% of market rents - although this is an option. The question could also mean whether the FH Soc would like to see existing house prices drop, so they become more affordable, without any increase in supply, whether social or private sector. OTOH, if the FH Soc accepts that there could be more supply, would they be prepared to see more in SE23, and if so where? What percentage of any increased supply would they want to be 'social'? Does the FH Soc accept that housing is a long term asset, which over the years may move between the public and private sector, that people may also move between the two sectors, so that the distinction between the two sectors is of only short term significance?

Does the FH Soc understand the provisions in the Localism Act whereby Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments should flow to neighbourhoods which accept more housing, and if so, does it have any views on how it should be spent?

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
16-10-2012 10:32 PM

I think we probably need the FH soc to launch a commission to fully answer all of Tim's excellent questions. I'm not sure if the Forest Hill Society needs to take a position on all those issues, such as our preference for house prices, after all we don't set house prices. But house prices in Forest Hill are lower than the London average, so I see no reason why we should expect them to fall faster than the similar properties in the rest of London. If house prices are too high in Forest Hill, then the prices in East Dulwich, Hendon, Ealing, Putney, etc are completely ridiculous. But people pay what they can afford, or what the banks allow them to afford.

Building in real brown field sites is the best way to significantly increase housing provision in the capital, Bell Green and Catford Greyhound track are two nearby examples where this can be achieved. In comparison to these sites the Catford Tavern can provide little extra housing. In Forest Hill we have already seen a number of large developments close to the railway providing lots of extra homes, some 'affordable' and others market rate.

Most people add extra storeys to increase their family living space (and house value) with loft conversions, but there are plenty of houses that have been divided into flats around Forest Hill. That was my first step on the housing ladder and I'm sure it is for many other young people, or would be if they could afford the deposits on houses. I have no problem with dividing houses in this way, and the council have sensible policies to prevent to loss of family housing as this takes place in more properties.

I also think that it is often a shame when well built houses to be knocked down and turned into modern flats which do not fit with the character of the street, but it happens and my street is quite a good example of this happening. I can stand at the end of my street and say 'I remember when these were all houses'. It can be done well or it can be done very badly.

In one notorious site locally it is pleasing that the developer wants to build flats that better reflect the streetscape rather than the modern block they previously proposed, and I have been working with them on behalf of the Forest Hill Society to achieve this better solution. Hopefully a planning application will soon be submitted so that others can judge for themselves. In another site on Sunderland Road the developer did manage to change a modern block into something more in keeping with the character, but there were still major flaws in the internal layout and it was refused. Many other cases exist along similar lines showing that the Forest Hill Society is not opposed to increased density levels, but want to ensure the quality of both the character and the internal space for new residents.

But London's housing shortage will not be solved by small conversions or even demolitions, or at least not without a detrimental impact on the quality of life for London's residents (compared to suburbs in most other world cities). We still have vast amounts of under-utilised land, not in Forest Hill but in the Thames Gateway, Docklands, and in the land surrounding London. There is no reason why there should be underground stations in the middle of farm land, but that seems to be the case on the M11 corridor.

The Community Infrastructure Levy may be useful but I would not expect large amounts to come from this, particularly in London where new developments have to pay additional crossrail levies to the GLA. But it would not apply to small scale developments, it needs an area that can see massive redevelopment, and that would not really be appropriate in virtually all of SE23, in my opinion.

Apologies to everybody for the long response, but this reflects a discussion that Tim and I have been having off and on for a couple of years now, without much success in understanding each others point of view.

I would of course be interested in other peoples' opinions, as the Forest Hill Society tries to reflect all local concerns, not just my personal preferences, and since the title of the thread invites the views of the Forest Hill Society I hope others will contribute, whether you are members or not.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
22-10-2012 08:26 AM

Tim Wrote:
We need greater housing densities - probably not that much more - so we have a choice between:
1. building over existing open space, such as allotments
2. building overbearing developments on what few sites can be found via the planning system, e.g. the Catford Tavern, etc
3. allowing the large amount of existing residential land to be redeveloped with an extra storey

3 is my preferred choice.

Tim,
When you say you want existing residential land to be redeveloped do you mean that large amounts of existing housing across Forest Hill to be demolished and replaced with modern three-storey flats and town houses? Or are you suggesting that home owners should be encouraged to extend their mortgages and convert their attics into penthouses for young families?
By targeting existing residential you are either expecting existing home owners to buy into this scheme to split up their homes, or you are expecting streets to be bought up by developers for systematic redevelopment.
Or is there another solution that I don't see?

I still prefer the option of developing brownfield sites (and some green field) around London which are not in use. I see no point in keeping playing fields (in Anerley) in public ownership when they have not been used for 20 years and a single site could provide more housing then large scale redevelopment of streets in Forest Hill. I'm not against converting houses into two flats to some extent, but I don't believe this can be the primary solution to the housing crisis which has resulted in such high rents and property prices.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #4
22-10-2012 10:08 AM

michael Wrote:
When you say you want existing residential land to be redeveloped do you mean that large amounts of existing housing across Forest Hill to be demolished and replaced with modern three-storey flats and town houses? Or are you suggesting that home owners should be encouraged to extend their mortgages and convert their attics into penthouses for young families?
By targeting existing residential you are either expecting existing home owners to buy into this scheme to split up their homes, or you are expecting streets to be bought up by developers for systematic redevelopment.


Both, to some extent, with that extent depending on (1) where opportunities arise where those immediately concerned have an interest in it happening, and (2) how much additional housing is needed to get prices down to something more sensible - the 'elasticity of demand'. On (1), I would expect most opportunities which arise to be extending or dividing up their houses - and please note the omission of your suggestion of extending any mortgages. I have a case in point in mind, of some neighbours - you may well know them - I'll pm the name - who continue to live in their family home, but some years ago converted the ground floor to a granny flat, and now have it rented out to some tenants. I doubt if any mortgage was needed here, since these are people of the baby boomer generation, who have lucked out so much in the post war era. This seems to me entirely wholesome, allowing people to age while maintaining their links with the local community, and not 'block bedrooms'. However, in the NOTES OF PLANNING POLICY WORKSHOP HELD AT DEPTFORD LOUNGE 25th April 2012, where there were several representatives of amenity societies, although maybe not from FH Soc - we read only of opposition to conversions.

Extensions are more problematic, but still something I would welcome on balance. The plus points are as with conversions, and with the additional benefit of physically adding more habitable rooms per hectare, rather than just getting those that exist better used. The downside is the impact on neighbours if done badly, and the environmental impact of loss of garden space if the extensions are horizontal rather than vertical - which they will be unless there is planning guidance in place, because it will be so much cheaper. I'd prefer to leave the issue of loss of gardens for another discussion, since it's rather muddied by sanctimoniousness of the 'grow your own' type.

To be continued - I didn't realise there was a limit on the length of essays allowed on sse23.comMellow

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
22-10-2012 10:10 AM

Consider the consequences of new developments. You need more schools etc..

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #6
22-10-2012 10:16 AM

We need more schools already - and they're what the CIL from new development should pay for. This issue is how we want our fellow citizens to live.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #7
22-10-2012 10:23 AM

(continued)

I suspect there is also a problem with the structure of the building industry - i.e. that there aren't any large, well run companies interested in doing such jobs in sufficient scale to achieve decent economies of scale, so that the market fragments between good quality but high price bespoke work, and the more or less dodgy. I wouldn't want to blame amenity societies for this situation, although I feel they contribute to it by reacting more to bad developments, and responding to the unthinking nimbyism of many of their members, than proactively advocating what would be good developments. In fairness to local amenity societies, in this case SydSoc - they did take a stand on what could have been an opportunity for good development of the Greyhound, but have revealed themselves, in my view, to have been out of their depth.

What we really need is more flexible housing, which I tried to get a discussion going on on the Sydenham Town Forum earlier this year. Like much of my thinking on housing, this was part triggered by a Practical Action talk I went to last year following which I posted this about lessons to be learned from Bogata

Quote:
There are some planning controls on where you can build houses, but they don't get enforced, and in any case, they don't apply in outer areas. So people just build their own homes, starting off looking like archetypical shanty towns, but being improved over time, with extra storeys added, perhaps for tenants just moved into the city. So the young and less well off do not get priced out of housing.


I also thought about this when someone posted on the Sydenham Town Forum about a possible development opportunity for some self build and around the same time I read something again about Walter Segal's housing ideas - how it was designed to allow people easily to extend their houses upwards. Wouldn't it be fantastic if this could be mainstream, with a healthy population of local building firms who knew exctly how to extend people's houses when they wanted, with little fuss from local authority planners because the principle was written into their Local Development Framewords, and Amenity Societies diplomatically rebuffing members who don't like the idea of new neighbours being able to peer into their gardens?

But it's not going to happen, because before we get to the architect and planning, there's one massive hurdle in the price of land, which according to that poster was more than the building cost. So this is (2) from the beginning of this double post. Before such proposals to help people who need new housing can get off the ground, dues have to be paid those elements of society who have benefited from the long run failure to build. There is a choice - join the revolution and expropriate the expropriators, or let sensibly regulated markets work as they should. Which side are the Amenity Societies on? And now, let's have a song

This post was last modified: 22-10-2012 10:24 AM by Tim Lund.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #8
22-10-2012 10:42 AM

Can any se23.com regulars tell me if there are ways to:

(1) edit out typos from posts which have been up more than 10 minutes? and
(2) post a youtube clip as such, rather than just a url?

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
22-10-2012 12:07 PM

I can never remember how to post videos so I made a note of it here.

So according to your system rich people with lots of spare cash can choose whether or not to convert their homes into multiple occupancy. This can happen already but few people choose to do it because most people like their homes, don't want to share their space with others, and would find it easier to buy (on a mortgage) a second property to convert. Most conversions of this nature are done by professional/semi-professional individuals/companies, and in terms of build quality this is probably for the best.

It is entirely right that amenity societies consider the impact on the future residents of the quality of any conversion, and the wider impact on the neighbours. When developments only impact one or two neighbours I hope amenity societies can give sensible advice to residents on how to object, even if the amenity society do not object themselves.

With the demolition of large amounts of existing housing across Forest Hill do you have any preference for which streets should be demolished to make way for the Lund Estates?
Once more I'll suggest that the there is plenty of empty spaces in and around London where this can be done cheaper and with less disruption.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #10
22-10-2012 12:57 PM

Michael Wrote:
So according to your system rich people with lots of spare cash can choose whether or not to convert their homes into multiple occupancy


This is a typical cheap debating trick designed to befuddle those who self identify as being on the left. Over decades we have allowed the housing market to fail. If we don't like 'rich people with lots of spare cash' on principle, we might as well go
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn3YqoRDTQo[/youtube]

Again,

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iAIM02kv0g[/youtube]

And now, sadly, I do have some paid for work to do, but will return to this in due course Smile

This post was last modified: 22-10-2012 12:58 PM by Tim Lund.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
22-10-2012 01:10 PM

Tim Wrote:
This is a typical cheap debating trick designed to befuddle those who self identify as being on the left.

I think you might want to more carefully consider the titles of the threads you start if you don't want to see such cheap debating tricks.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
22-10-2012 01:37 PM

At least 1.5 million houses are second homes. Fill these up permanently and there would be no need for extra house building in Forest Hill.
We have a situation where people living in the largest houses have multiple properties while the majority of the population are expected to live in smaller and smaller spaces.
If there was some disincentive for the richest people to own second homes then house prices would slowly become more affordable, although I suspect it would actually be bad for the economy as they would just buy their second homes in France or Spain and take their cash there for a few months of the year.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Codrington Brill


Posts: 66
Joined: Mar 2012
Post: #13
22-10-2012 01:47 PM

If you look at our housing stock it is clear to me that there is a complete mismatch between the type and size of housing and housing need. We're living longer in retirment and splitting into smaller household units but the existing housing remains predominantly family sized. Its unavoidable that to provide houses for more housholds in a fixed area (fixed because of the Green Belt) you need to increase the density of housing. What's the best way to do it?

Buidling only on scarce brownfield sites is not fair in my opnion as you end up with small units and poor lviing standards. Furthermore, there isn't enough space in the right places. I have always thought that the best way is large scale intensification of the exisiting housing stock as Mr Lund is suggesting. i/e replace rows of terraced and detached housing with high quality well designed mainly flatted developments with good standard of living.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #14
22-10-2012 02:27 PM

I see no reason why replacing existing housing stock with well designed mainly flatted developments should be any better than well designed mainly flatted developments on brownfield sites (and some greenfield sites too).

Most retired people, who have paid off their mortgages would prefer to keep the house they have rather than move into smaller properties, and the same is true with council tenants. But I would far prefer that the government finds solutions other than forcing retired people out of their homes to build them flats as a replacement.

Most housing growth has been in 1-2 bedroom flats, but there continues to be at least the same level of demand for family units (3+ bedrooms), which is why the council has rules about replacing demolished family housing with at least the same amount of family housing (usually in a smaller space).

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #15
22-10-2012 02:57 PM

Codrington Brill Wrote:
as Mr Lund is suggesting


Thanks for the support - but it's Tim. Only "Mr" when Michael allows himself to be annoyed.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Tim Lund


Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #16
22-10-2012 05:32 PM

Michael makes several good points, and there is no challenging his command of detail on actual planning application in the area.

In particular, it is quite reasonable for him earlier on this thread to

Quote:
prefer the option of developing brownfield sites (and some green field) around London which are not in use.


Also, on an earlier thread on the Sydenham Town Forum

michael Wrote:

Tim Lund Wrote:
Are any of those active in local assemblies and civic societies prepared to contemplate the higher housing densities the wider public needs?

Of course they are, always just outside their area, which currently has the perfect density. (I jest of course).

Every area is different. My understanding is that the Sydenham Society were particularly in favour of Bell Green having significant residential development, rather than out of town style retail park. The Greyhound site is another good example of high density development in a site with high PTAL rating. Brockley will show other examples of this happening. Not quite high rise, but 5 or 6 storeys becoming fairly normal for such locations.

Anyway, I've tried to explain the point of view from people who I know were in that workshop. I hope that most people will see that their concerns are valid in certain contexts. A necessary force against those who would like to see South London turned into Nothing but Towers.


So he can equally reasonably contemplate higher densities further into London, but when it comes to his own back yard, it's a case of 'many an actual opinion spoken in jest'.

I'm also interested to know whether he really does still think "The Greyhound site is another good example of high density development" - or was that another - unacknowledged - jest, like the suggestion that I was advocating 'nothing but towers', which I originally took as a jest, but which others misunderstood, so requiring me to spell out my position at maybe unwarranted essay length.

This post was last modified: 22-10-2012 05:37 PM by Tim Lund.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #17
22-10-2012 08:12 PM

Tim,
It is hardly as if Forest Hill is immune from, or should be immune from, residential developments. Along the railway line Forest Hill has found plenty of space for higher density developments in former brownfield sites. Phoenix Works, Clyde Terrace, City Walk, Normanton Street, Bell Green, etc. But there is no doubt that Brockely happens to have more brownfield sites suitable for development. There are a number of other houses that have been split into multiple occupancy over the last few years, but they don't touch the increase in housing provided on these brownfield sites.

There are many more brownfield sites around London, many vastly bigger than Bell Green, and many are beginning to be developed. North Greenwich is just one excellent example of this happening and I almost moved there 10 years ago.

Did anybody spot that the Talking Head reference? (Nothing but Towers)
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3t5nmgRVMs[/youtube]

Find all posts by this user Reply
jgdoherty


Posts: 297
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #18
22-10-2012 09:51 PM

I have commented in earlier posts that reports of numbers of vacant homes in England and Wales vary between 390,000 and 580,000, dependant on how those numbers are reported by individual local authorities. If vacant private properties are taken into account, the number rises to 900,000 homes. Houses deemed to be beyond repair are not included in these numbers.

It seems that as many as 65-80% of these numbers are deemed to be long-term empty.

Whilst I am uncertain if there are accurate numbers for the demand side for affordable housing (ie how many affordable homes are needed), this un-inhabited portion of the housing stock is both substantial and unacceptably high.

There are several pieces of legislation in place where the intent is to reduce the numbers of un-inhabited housing units, but it may the case that their ineffectiveness is measured by the persistently large numbers.

The need for larger densities therefore may be significantly reduced by any number of effective mitigation measures that would result in bringing these long term un-occupied homes back into use.

Reports in recent days that 1.5m home owners have second homes (I believe this number does not include buy-to-let properties) cannot be viewed to be beneficial. This especially if these properties do not have occupancy rates that are particularly high on an annualised basis, that is if they are occupied only for a small portion of the year

On the issue of mis-placed adherence to local policies that delivers a huge surplus of retail units in our own borough, some of that floor space could be beneficially re-designated as housing stock, providing at least a small contribution to the overall problem.

This post was last modified: 22-10-2012 09:59 PM by jgdoherty.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Codrington Brill


Posts: 66
Joined: Mar 2012
Post: #19
22-10-2012 10:05 PM

If you use all the brownfield sites for residential, won't it be a bit of a waste. Bear in mind the government is trying to make it permitted to change of use from business to residential, we're going to end up with dormitory suburbs.

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,215
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #20
23-10-2012 09:36 AM

Tim Wrote:
Only "Mr" when Michael allows himself to be annoyed.

Actually only when it fits with a quote from Mr Potato Head. I can't really use Mr for him and not for Mr Lund, not that his name is really Potato Head, it was just me being too lazy to look up the name of the head of the potato council.

Tim Wrote:
...so requiring me to spell out my position at maybe unwarranted essay length.

Well not really. I accept that mathematically 'higher density' can mean a single additional floor, rather than 10 of them, but I don't think that was ever explicit from your previous posts. But I also regard an 'unwarranted essay' as being a little more than three paragraphs. Clearly there is a certain amount of subjectivity when using such terms.

Codrington Brill Wrote:
If you use all the brownfield sites for residential, won't it be a bit of a waste. Bear in mind the government is trying to make it permitted to change of use from business to residential, we're going to end up with dormitory suburbs.

I would point to developments like http://www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/ which provides as many homes as Forest Hill and significantly more jobs. Not all brown field sites are as well located as North Greenwich, but we have some way to go before the banks of the Thames are as densely populated as the suburbs of London.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Pages (5): « First [1] 2 3 4 5 Next > Last »

Friends of Blythe Hill Fields