The partnership between Redrow and Liverpool Council does nothing to provide homes for the needy in our City
In my last blog I gave most of the answers that Lib Dems received to questions that we posed at the last council meeting. I promised to come back with some thoughts on what was revealed or not revealed by them I am starting with the question about Redrow.
The Council has a strategic partnership with Redrow that was properly tendered for and implemented. What we are unable to discern is what the Council actually gets for the partnership apart from rent for a small office in the council owned Cunard Building.
The responses to the question by the Mayor indicate that the payments received from Redrow fall into two categories. The biggest of these by far is for the sale of the land and the smallest is what is called Section 106 money. Both of these are in some ways outside the direct control of the Council.
We can only sell land at a price that is agreed by an independent organisation called the District Valuation Office. By law the council must sell it at that value or it has to report back why it is letting the asset go for less than market value. It might do this, for example if the organisation had a social, none-profit making purpose.
Section 106 money is given to support activity in the community near to the development to mitigate some of the problems that any development will cause. Typically, it is used to improve open space; public art; road and transport access and the like. This is negotiated by officers to a fairly fixed format.
So, when Joe Anderson claims that the partnership with Redrow delivers money to be used by LMH for social housing he is correct. He forgets to say, however, as he clearly does in the response to council that we would get the money no matter who the Council had sold the land to for housing.
But in fact, the partnership not only adds no extra value but it takes away some value from what could other wise have taken place. On larger sites, like that at New Heys in Allerton, there is, in planning law, a requirement for a certain provision on such sites to be for affordable or social housing. I don’t know what you think affordable or social means but I saw no signs of either being built. When I questioned Redrow at a planning committee on why no social or affordable housing was being provided at the Holly Lodge site in West Derby I was told it was because of the partnership.
I find it sad as well that we sell Redrow the land who then make a profit out of what we sell them by only building the properties on a leasehold basis which is causing major problems nationally to people who thought they were home owners.
Lastly, we do not even use our power as land owner to get the sort of housing that we need. In Allerton, Church, Childwall and Woolton Wards we desperately need two bedroomed apartments so that residents could down size from big semis and detacheds to a place in their own area. How many of these were built at New Heys or are proposed for the section of Calderstones Park being acquired by them? None on New Heys and the only ones at Caldies are in existing buildings which cannot be unlisted.
Nationally house builders like Redrow and Crest Nicholson are making huge and unprecedented partnerships. This is caused by a coalition of a Tory Government subsiding people to buy houses who do not normally need the help and bamboozled ‘socialist’ councils who have been out gunned by the Redrow solicitors!
Well done Joe – “another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”