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Affordable housing portion of Jam Factory now being sold exclusively in Hong Kong

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Friday 13 February 2015 3.02pm
I know planning laws have changed recently regarding affordable housing but surely given the recent increase in house prices (circa 20% in Southwark for 2014) for the borough and the increase in the rental market how can Southwark council justify the loss of the affordable housing units from the Jam Factory and allow them to be sold exclusively overseas to wealthy investors?

The Jam Factory already has a number of Airbnb lets, it's only a matter of time before only the wealthy and tourists can afford to stay in the area.
Saturday 14 February 2015 3.43pm
Have you read about this:

A council that allowed a developer to completely remove affordable housing from a development acted unlawfully in not carrying out a procurement exercise, a High Court judge has ruled.
Winchester Council allowed developer TIAA Henderson to significantly revise plans in the 287-home Silver Hill scheme without going through procurement.
Affordable housing worth an estimated £7.36m, which had been agreed in 2008, was removed from the plans. The council instead agreed in December to accept a £1m commuted sum for off-site affordable housing provision, the High Court heard. The amount will rise to £1.5m if the scheme makes a 15% profit or more.
In a judgement handed down yesterday, Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the council, in reducing the affordable housing provision, acted unlawfully by breaking EU and English procurement rules.
An equivalent commuted sum payable for 35-40% affordable housing - the percentage originally agreed - on site would, according to the judgement, be in the region of £7.36m – making the £1m offer significantly lower. These changes constitute a ‘major change’ that should have triggered another procurement exercise, the judgement said.
The case was heard in January and was brought by a local Conservative councillor, Kim Gottlieb, against his own administration. Mr Gottlieb has also been leading a campaign against the development, ‘Winchester Deserves Better’. The case sparked a protest in Winchester in November.
Mr Gottlieb called for the council leader and chief executive to resign in the wake of the ruling.
He also said: ‘We are urging Eric Pickles to call in the application.’
Robert Humby, leader of Conservative-led Winchester City Council, said the council was looking at ‘options open to us, including whether we should abandon the existing approved scheme and begin again.’
In a statement TIAA Henderson Real estate said: ‘We are surprised and disappointed by the decision and we will now carefully consider the judgement.’
No decision has yet been made by the council on whether to appeal the judgement. The Department for Communities and Local Government did not comment on whether Mr Pickles would intervene.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who would be interested in challenging Southwark Council; they seem to favour taking the money rather than insisting on affordable housing.
Saturday 14 February 2015 11.29pm
Are Airbnb lets legal?
Do they have planning permission for change of use to run a B&B?
Air or otherwise?
Sunday 15 February 2015 2.20pm
Davies wrote:
Are Airbnb lets legal?
Do they have planning permission for change of use to run a B&B?
Air or otherwise?
totally legal i am sure if its your own home
Sunday 15 February 2015 6.23pm
Not legal in London, even if it's your own home, although the government is thinking of making it so -
Sunday 15 February 2015 6.37pm
@Karen I: one for the resident association at the Jam Factory to look into but I believe Section 106 of planning obligations do allow a change in classification. Legalities aside there are certainly ethical issues relating to the exlusive sale overseas. The standing tenants should have at least been offered first refusal to purchase.

@boroughpaul & Davies: current legislation requires no short term lets less than 3 months in London without planning permission, the homeowner would also need to inform their mortgage company and insurance to update terms. The government is currently trying to scrap this law.

I am all for moving with the times but these kind of lets are a nuisance for residents. I've been subjected to many a night of house parties courtesy of some holidayers and then find the street littered with broken bottles and other party related refuse in the mornings. Not to mention the compromised security for residents and lack of community surrounded by empty properties on weekdays. We also need to take into account the financial ramifications for the tourist industry and tax evasion by landlords.
Monday 16 February 2015 8.35pm
if they (Airbnb people) are ever prosecuted the courts would be tied up for years...its a law never enforced and it never will be
Monday 16 February 2015 9.45pm
boroughpaul wrote:
if they (Airbnb people) are ever prosecuted the courts would be tied up for years...its a law never enforced and it never will be

How can it be legal to advertise "affordable" homes overseas at all? That is SO bad!
Not that I call a shade under half a million "affordable" but that's clearly just me.

It will have to be dealt with or everyone everywhere gets to be kept awake all night by the partying.

Much as happens round here.

Sooner or later, and I hope sooner, it will come to court.

To run a B&B where previously a dwelling was for residential use is a change of purpose and requires planning permission. It doesn't need a new law, just the existing ones enforcing.
Wednesday 18 February 2015 11.18am
To put aside the uninformed speculation - Airbnb lets in residential properties in London are still illegal and there is not even any draft legislation to change this. Read:

It is a matter dealt with by the local council who would enforce on the property owner a requirement to obtain planning permission, if they do not then they are in breach of enforcement which is a criminal offence. The council of course do not go out looking for breaches but if reported because it is causing problems for neighbours then they will act. The likes of Westminster and other authorities have done so in the past and are unlikely to stop enforcing the law where it is in the public interest to do so.

Nothing at all would happen to Airbnb so they're not bothered in the least, as is typical in the new 'sharing' economy where Airbnb, Uber and so on take a large slice of commission in return for a bit of software and very little else.
Wednesday 18 February 2015 12.12pm
someone in the council should register with airbnb, and then search for properties in Southwark, and then chase down every single one of them.

i've just checked and there are 964 available in southwark. One that I clicked on is clearly in Metro Central Heights, and the name of the owners is right there on the page, so easily traceable.

Another is in the Strata building.

(maybe I should name the owners, as it is publicly available knowledge on airbnb website - one doesn't have to register to search their site)

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