When it comes to housing you would be forgiven for thinking the council’s role was limited to allocating council homes, collecting rents and granting planning permission. Think again…
Demand is very high for all types of housing and Ealing Council is fast becoming a major player in the local market, providing good quality homes to suit a range of budgets.
The council is landlord to around 12,000 tenants, but has a further 12,000 families on its waiting list. With up to 40 new applications received every week, the reality is that fewer than 10% of those families will receive an offer of a council home in any given year because there are not enough to go around.
Of course, Ealing is not alone in having these housing challenges. It is the same across the country, and especially in London. However, what does set our borough apart is the council’s approach to tackling these problems.
A NEW KIND OF HOUSING DEVELOPER
Broadway Living is a housing company with a difference. What makes it different is that it is a subsidiary of Ealing Council – a separate legal entity wholly owned by the council.
Creating Broadway Living has given the council greater powers and flexibility to build new homes and regenerate neighbourhoods. Unlike conventional council housing, these homes can be offered in a range of other ways, too – such as affordable housing, shared equity, private sale, private rent or discount rent.
The company does not make profits to pay shareholders. Money made from the private sale and rent of new homes is ploughed back into building and regenerating much-needed affordable housing in Ealing. And, unlike private developers, Broadway Living will not knowingly sell to speculators, developers or investors. Its homes are targeted at people actually looking to make a home here.
Broadway Living’s latest development is Alton Court in Hanwell. Visitors to the new marketing suite and show flat have been impressed by the design, spaciousness and high standards, with many admitting they were not expecting such high levels of quality from a ‘council development’.
These high standards are no accident and no one-off; the council fully intends for Broadway Living to set new standards for design, build and customer service.
MORE NEW COUNCIL HOMES
The council itself is also building more affordable housing by developing disused council-owned land, such as empty garages and hostel sites. Through a partnership with UK housebuilder Hill, the council is constructing 294 new homes on 22 small brownfield sites across the borough.
There are also eight large regeneration projects in full swing across the borough. At these sites, older social housing is being replaced with better quality homes.
A BETTER PLACE TO RENT
There are more than 131,000 residential properties in the borough and around 36,000 of these are rented from private landlords, many of whom are members of recognised landlord accreditation schemes.
Despite this, there are areas of the borough where standards need to be improved. So, following a public consultation, the council introduced additional licensing regulations in January 2017. Now, most private landlords in our borough require a licence, meaning they have to comply with conditions relating to the management and condition of their property, including gas, electrical, fire safety; the facilities provided; and addressing any anti-social behaviour.
LEADER IN THE FIELD
Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We are responding to the housing crisis by increasing the supply of decent homes of all types. This includes improving conditions in the private rented sector through accreditation and licensing. This is helping to improve the supply and quality of housing in neighbourhoods right across Ealing.
“There is so much more yet to do but we are now seen as a leader in the field – delivering new homes directly, through partnerships and through Broadway Living.”