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Brent Council loses High Court challenge against affordable rent plan by Mayor of London

PUBLISHED: 14:06 25 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:14 25 March 2014

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

Mayor's Office

Brent Council have lost its High Court challenge against the Mayor of London's bid to increase the rates of affordable rents.

Under the changes announced by Boris Johnson, new “affordable” homes could charge rents of up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

Brent teamed up with Islington, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark, Hackney and Tower Hamlets to try to halt the Revised Early Minor Alterations (REMA) proposals, which are part of the London Plan.

The boroughs argued that the new rents will be unaffordable for many local people and the Mayor of London was wrong to treat London as a single housing market, when there are in fact many different housing markets across the city.

However the court ruled in favour of Mr Johnson on Tuesday.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s lead member for housing, said: “We are disappointed by this decision. The kind of low income families whom we want to protect will not be able to afford these increased rents for new affordable housing.

“Brent Council wants decent homes which local people can genuinely afford. We will now be working with other boroughs to see what further steps we can take to help provide more affordable homes for local residents.”

The Mayor’s plans runs contrary to the advice of an independent Government-appointed Planning Inspector, who recommended that boroughs should keep their powers to set rents in new affordable housing.

Existing council tenancies and the majority of housing association tenancies will be unaffected.

The Times has contacted Brent Council for a comment.

Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for planning, said: “Maximising the delivery of affordable homes in London is the Mayor’s top priority. Imposing individual rent caps would have significantly constrained financial capacity with the potential to shut down affordable housing supply.

“While I am pleased that the High Court has fully vindicated our position, it is deeply regrettable that taxpayers’ money has been wasted bringing this case to court.

“The important thing now is that we all work together to meet London’s pressing housing needs.”

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