HOUSING NOTES FOR SOCIALISTS & GREENS

 

CONTENTS

  1. HOUSING INEQUALITY & NEED
  2. HOUSING SUSTAINABILITY
  3. GO-TO PEOPLE IN BRISTOL
  4. OTHER LINKS
  5. NOTES ON THE AUTHOR

 

1  HOUSING INEQUALITY & NEED

End Right To Buy, buy back stock

Let councils borrow against HRA

Stop councils from selling off their own land – it is a public resource and should be used for council housing, community facilities or recreation

Use planning system to restrict over-development which inflates land values

CPO land on the back of the above

Consider tax on land value gains

Be more critical of viability reports – employ our own experts (not BNP as currently in Bristol), challenge figures

Central government needs to back councils in refusing schemes which don’t provide social housing

Social rent housing is the only really affordable tenure in terms of normal wages

Put extra money into housing by increasing taxes on all above-average earners – make an offer to the electorate – pay more and get a better society

Show how good most  council housing is and be prepared to criticise private developments. Make council housing the exemplar for best green practice –

https://www.versobooks.com/books/2719-municipal-dreams

Excess rooms – encourage people to let them out, backed-up schemes and propaganda

 

2   HOUSING SUSTAINABILITY

Increase standards for insulation

Promote local generation of renewable energy – house by house, estate by estate, street by street

Restore viable feed-in tarrifs so people can get paid for surplus electricity and thus incentivised to produce it

Restore subsidised scheme for insulating lofts and walls of old properties, and double or triple glazing

“1 Million Climate Jobs”  – https://www.campaigncc.org/sites/data/files/Docs/one_million_climate_jobs_2014.pdf

Stop “greenwash” used to justify high density (and usually unaffordable) housing with little amenity and relationship to community, where flats change hands and people can’t settle

Every home a wanted home. Build less but better – and affordable. Provide space to enjoy nature, grow food, mingle and play. Provide storage space, workrooms, guest rooms, laundry rooms – either within dwellings or shared

Impose construction apprenticeships on all building contracts over a certain size. With part of the apprenticeship in college learning and discussing green construction. Young builders as the advocates of improvement.

Restore “Lifetime Homes” concept to planning requirements – so homes are adaptable for things like changed family units, disability

Learn from the continued appeal of Victorian and Georgian houses which despite poor insulation (which can be improved) have proved themselves very sustainable in other ways

Have government-funded research into green building and infrastructure, and climate change. Why are we still building in flood planes in the old way? Why don’t we put shutters on the outside of our windows to control heat? Why don’t all new offices and schools have cooling labyrinths as part of Building Regs?

 

 

3 GO-TO PEOPLE IN BRISTOL (SOME)

Craig White – White Design & UWE. Practising architect with track record in green and self-build and co housing projects. Involved currently with Bristol City Council in Ashton Vale (I think)

https://www.white-design.com/about/people/craig/

https://people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/CraigWhite

Jackson Moulding – Ecomotive, SNUG house. Founder-builder at St Werburgh’s, promoting green construction and renewable energy, and manageable self-build

http://www.ecomotive.org/who-we-ares/jackson-moulding/

Rachel Butler – Tiny House – co-housing project (incl some self-build)

https://www.tinyhousecommunitybristol.org/

Jasper Thompson – Help Bristol Homeless – innovative short term help for homeless people who help to build their own container homes

https://helpbristolshomeless.co.uk/about-us/jasper-thompson/

 

 

 

4 OTHER LINKS

DEFEND COUNCIL HOUSING –

http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/

ACORN –

https://acorntheunion.org.uk/

LANDAID – property industry charity to help homeless. Dubious in many respects but worth knowing about –

https://www.landaid.org/

 

5 NOTES ON THE AUTHOR

WK is a practising architect in housing, with over 30 years’ experience of delivering social and affordable homes including for the GLC, London Boroughs of Haringey & Islington, and many RSLs. His scheme at Pankhurst Avenue Brighton won the Evening Standard Housing Award for “Best Affordable Development” in the South East in 2013, and had received the personal endorsement and support of Labour & Green councillors in Brighton including the leader of the council.

He was an early member and campaigner in Defend Council Housing which has helped to restore local authorities’ right to build.  As a council tenant he served as been secretary of the Ossulston Street Tenants & Residents’ Association in Camden for many years, and went on to found the Fields Estate TRA in Hackney which he was secretary of between 1999 and 2005. As well as seeking estate improvements and organising community events he was involved in campaigning against the privatisation of council housing in both Camden and Hackney.

He is currently a supporter of ACORN and has personally campaigned for Labour and Green votes over the last decade depending on the manifesto offerings. He supports Jeremy Corbyn’s social policies though would be keen to see them strengthened.

wolfgang.kuchler@virgin.net

 

In memory of Alan Walter – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/mar/16/alan-walter-obituary

and with thanks to Shona Jemphrey for inspiring & encouraging these notes

HOUSING NOTES FOR SOCIALISTS & GREENS

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