Policy Forum for London

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for housing in London - strategies for delivery, affordability, improving standards and reducing homelessness

Morning, Friday, 11th September 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine priorities for housing in London, focusing on the way forward for improving housing delivery, affordability, and quality - and reducing homelessness.

It will be an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers discuss the final shape the new London Plan  and its measures affecting housing, with its publication being delayed until 2021 following concerns from central government.

The Housing Secretary was critical of the scale of housing development and the added complexity of London planning rules in his response to the Intention to Publish version of the London Plan.

Delegates will examine options for revising the London Plan, and its long-term blueprint for housing policy that includes:

  • more effectively coordinating growth across boroughs
  • ensuring planning and development regulations are fit for purpose
  • making new homes more affordable

Overall, the key areas for discussion at this conference are expected to be:

  • assessing the long-term plan for London housing development and delivering the London Plan
  • delivering a planning system that is fit for purpose
  • protecting residents in the private rental sector and ensuring the sustainability of built materials
  • overcoming construction challenges presented by COVID-19

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • The London Plan and the response from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • The expected Planning White Paper - which sets out government plans aimed at streamlining and speeding up the planning process
  • London’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, and its use as part of the London Plan to outline:
    • London’s housing potential capacity
    • the large and small sites appropriate for development
    • priorities for overcoming barriers to development arising from local, environmental, policy and economic factors
  • The planning approval of the Old Oak Common transport hub in West London, and its expected alignment with HS2 and the Elizabeth Line
  • Priorities in the London Housing Strategy for tackling issues in the sector, such as:
    • modernising the leasehold regime to improve ownership rights and accountability
    • ensuring renters receive a fair deal and quality services
  • The London Living Rent and London Affordable Rent schemes, which provide direct support by providing affordable rent for people looking to save for a mortgage

The discussion in detail:

Assessing the long-term plan for London housing development and delivering the London Plan

Next steps for delivering new housing supply in a sustainable and cost effective way:

  • the £4.8bn housing development funding acquired by Central Government and strategies for leveraging investment up to 2022 - with discussion expected on:
    • strategic partnerships on projects with housing associations
    • supporting developers with gaining land access
    • retrofitting existing buildings and property stock for residential housing
  • the planning framework and ensuring it is fit for purpose - looking at options for:
    • providing greater decision making powers to boroughs
    • setting ambitious build-out rates for quick delivery
    • new policy measures for greater land use and intervention in the land market
  • steps for supporting new funding streams for housing Investment and delivery - such as:
    • how to work more closely with private sector funders
    • establishing new incentives
    • allowing Boroughs to generate additional revenues for housing funds

The Mayor’s London Housing Strategy, and how its key objectives around affordable housing rollout, delivering quality homes, and addressing homelessness can be achieved, looking at:

  • options for reducing the shortfall in affordable homes, such as:
    • utilising social rent levels and innovative ownership models
    • ensuring new developments are set at affordable rates
    • refusing conversion of social rented homes to higher rents
  • diversifying home delivery partners and accelerating building rates across the private sector, housing associations, community-led organisations and councils
  • tackling homelessness and rough sleeping and making accommodation more accessible - prevention measures, spaces for temporary living, and leveraging council cooperation

Ensuring the planning system is fit for purpose

  • how the planning and regulatory system for housing development can be designed to deliver the scale, quality, and affordability of required homes in London - and the impact of the expected Planning White Paper
  • best practice for housing design and innovation - incorporating the National Design Guide, utilising modern methods of construction (MMC), meeting demand and nurturing a sense of community
  • utilising the availability of brownfield land for development - regenerating local sites, coordinating with boroughs, and maximising connections to transport infrastructure
  • the relationship between infrastructure development and housing projects - ensuring the contribution of transport projects to enhancing communities and the delivery of new homes, as well as providing increased connectivity to employment hubs

Protecting residents in the private rental sector and the sustainability of built materials

  • steps for ensuring that renters are effectively protected, including from rogue landlords, with the private rental sector growing substantially across London
  • priorities in the London Housing Strategy for tackling key issues in the sector, such as modernising the leasehold regime to improve ownership rights and accountability, and ensuring renters receive a fair deal and quality services
  • strategies for future interventions and schemes to support affordability across London’s housing market
  • priorities for improving the safety and quality of homes, including enhancing building safety standards and making sure new builds meet the Future Homes Standard

Overcoming construction challenges presented by COVID-19

With the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency effecting business activity across the UK, including the development of new housing, we expect discussion on:

  • the creation of a new Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce, and priorities for policymakers and stakeholders across London in supporting new developments and sector resilience
  • next steps for restarting construction and stimulating economic recovery:
    • restoring employment in the housebuilding sector
    • working cross-sector with key partners
    • making land sites and permits more attractive for developers
  • creating a recovery plan that incorporates all aspects of the housing sector including supply chains, investors and boroughs
  • the role of local boroughs and the wider public sector in:
    • continuing the expansion of new affordable and social housing
    • supporting vulnerable groups, including low-income renters, as well as those already and at risk of becoming homeless

The agenda:

  • Implementing the Mayor’s Housing Strategy and priorities for the new London Plan
  • Delivery of affordable homes - accelerating construction, priorities for the planning framework, diversifying funding routes, and increasing local authority and sector collaboration
  • Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping across London and making accommodation more accessible - improving prevention measures, spaces for temporary living, and support in the wake of the pandemic
  • COVID-19 and London’s housing market - restarting construction, targeting stimulus in the economy, and meeting demand for outdoor spaces and digital infrastructure
  • Ensuring the right homes are built in the right location - design, innovation, and integrating with wider new and legacy local infrastructure
  • Next steps for improving housing quality and safety across London - accommodation and building safety standards, affordability, and sustainability

Policy officials attending

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stake holders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of the Greater London Authority and senior officials from government agencies and departments, Assembly Members, Westminster Parliamentarians, senior central government officials and other policymakers, together with government and community groups, housing associations and developers, investors and the construction sector, groups representing house buyers and tenants, landlords and their associations and partners, the wider infrastructure and commercial sector, legal and financial advisors, academics and commentators, think tanks, advocacy and third sector organisations, and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Tom Copley

Deputy Mayor Housing & Residential Development

Jasmine Basran

Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Crisis


Leonie Cooper AM

Member, Housing Committee, London Assembly

Tony Devenish AM

Member, Housing Committee, London Assembly


Steven Fidgett

Director, Union4Planning

Councillor Rebecca Rennison

Deputy Mayor, Hackney Council

Benjamin Derbyshire

Chair, HTA Design and Immediate Past President, RIBA and Commissioner, Historic England

John Swinney

Chief Executive Officer, Just Housing

Shula Rich

Vice Chair, Federation of Private Residents Associations and Specialist, Right to Manage

Senior speaker confirmed from Network Homes