Council house conference gets discussion moving

Mon 12th November 2018, 9:57 am

On Tuesday 6 November, senior officers from 18 local authorities attended the Building Council Homes forum to discuss how to increase delivery.

Organised by development consultancy Airey Miller Partnership and placemaking specialist 3Fox International, the morning featured presentations from housing experts, and round table discussions, where attendees had the opportunity to share experiences and best practices.

Caroline Pillay, development director at Airey Miller, called it "a very insightful and engaging collective of local authority representatives, sharing their experiences and challenges". "It's definetely the perfect time to be in housing," she added.

The session began with an introduction from Peter Airey, managing partner at Airey Miller. Other speakes included Caroline Pillay, development director from Airey Miller Partnerships – and Mark Baigent, director of housing and regeneration at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, who provided an overview of some of the key elements involved with setting up a council-owned housing company.

Looking back on the event, Baigent said: “I thought the event was excellent. There were plenty of opportunities to make  useful connections and contribute to the discussions on the day. I especially liked the fact that the event was attended by representatives from London boroughs and non-london local authorities.”

Dr Janice Morphet, professor at University College London, shared some key outcomes of her most recent survey, which included the extent to which local authorities around the country have engaged in joint venture partnerships.

The final presentation of the morning was delivered by Jamie Ratcliff, assistant director for housing at the Greater London Authority (GLA). Ratcliff discussed the various ways the GLA supports council house building, including an overview of the recently announced Homebuilding Capacity Fund.

Attendees were then invited to discuss topics including governance and funding, as part of smaller round table discussions. These sessions were facilitated by Tobias Goevert, the outgoing head of regeneration at the London Borough of Harrow; Delia Beddis, business planning, Newbridge Developments; Dan Partridge, director of regeneration and partnerships at PRD Solutions and Mark Baigent. 3Fox International's managing director Toby Fox concluded proceedings.

Discussing the event, Fox said: “It has been a pleasure to work with an organisation as forward-thinking as Airey Miller Partnership in producing the workshop. And this is just the beginning – there is a great appetite for sharing information about councils delivering housing, and a great deal of varied experience to share. We’re excited to be working together again on a follow-up event for early next year.”

The event was attended by senior representatives from 18 London boroughs and home county councils. One of the delegates, Julie Markwell from the London Borough of Hillingdon, said: “I found it very useful to hear how other boroughs are delivering affordable housing through their HRA and housing companies.”

This event was the first in a series of forums aimed at helping local authorities increase the construction of affordable homes. For more information about attending future events, contact Charlotte Gregory on 020 7978 6840.

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