Hammersmith & Fulham Council used the legacy of a stand at MIPIM UK booked by the previous administration to send a message to developers of “homes for residents, not overseas investors”.
The previous Conservative administration council had booked the stand, hoping to showcase the reasons for investing in the borough, and in particular to promote the concept of the Hammersmith Flyunder, which would be funded by selling land for development “created” by cutting and covering the A4.
The new Labour council decided to use it to try to set out its vision to deal with London’s housing crisis and build developments “that fit into the character of the area”.
Council leader Stephen Cowan (pictured at the stand) said: “All too often property developers treat the increase in land values in our borough as some sort of gold rush bonanza.
“Too many present ridiculous viability assessments that offer piffling amounts of affordable homes, with designs and scale that are out of character with the neighbourhoods they want to put them in and in some cases with over 80 per cent of what’s built being sold off-plan to overseas investors.
“That’s not good enough and very little use to anyone. We are already working with responsible developers but those who don’t care about doing the right thing should look elsewhere.”
The council is committed to delivering more affordable housing in Hammersmith & Fulham, where the average property price is higher than £600,000 – more than 1.6 times higher than the average London home. Rents are also much higher than in other boroughs, with households facing an average monthly rent of nearly £1,500.
H&F Council wants to increase social rented homes and affordable homes to buy, while using planning and legal powers to ensure that new homes go to residents.
MIPIM UK was the target of a protest by the Radical Housing Network who assembled a group apparently largely populated by campaigners against Capco’s redevelopment of the Gibbs Green and West Kensington estates, with local MP Andrew Slaughter also involved. A group of around 100 protestors made life uncomfortable enough for the Olympia security staff to close the main doors for a time, but left the activity inside largely unperturbed.