Merton agrees five-year housing strategy

Merton Council agreed on Monday 17 January to adopt a Housing Delivery Strategy, contributing to a five-year action plan that will see an increase in the delivery of high-quality and affordable housing across the borough. 

Residents and interested organisations were invited to join six weeks of consultation on the strategy, which was set out in July 2021. Community groups, housing associations and residents were consulted through email, meetings and an online questionnaire. 

Feedback was received on the borough’s future housing needs, what the right sort of housing would be for Merton, how much affordable housing there should be and who the council should work with to deliver on these aims. 

The response to the consultation was broadly supportive: suggested actions were that the strategy should be more Merton-specific, as well as recognising the impact of the climate emergency and the need for more accessible housing. 

Affordable properties as well as robust planning policies were also addressed in submissions, as well as honing the offer around homelessness, the density of new developments, and the need for affordable housing to be at the heart of the strategy. 

The Local Plan is expected to call for 50% of new homes in the borough to be affordable and will align with the priorities as set out in the housing strategy. The council’s decision in December 2021 to release surplus assets for housebuilding includes the aim to make 100% of these properties affordable. 

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate Emergency, said: “This housing delivery strategy focuses on securing housing growth across the borough which is crucial given out housing target of more than 900 homes a year, but also dealing with housing need given we have 9,000 people on our housing waiting list.  

“As a council we will also work with housing providers to deliver those much needed new homes, but also utilise surplus council-owned land for the provision of new housing in Merton.  

“I’d like to thank everyone who joined in the consultation: their voices and contributions will allow us to deliver a long-term approach to the key issue of providing affordable and appropriate housing in the borough.”