Journal: Adwoa Oforiwa

Journal 1 : Housing Select Committee
27th October 2015

This select committee meets on a monthly basis in order to discuss housing issues that affect the local residents within their wards across the borough. Items discussed on the agenda included:

  • a review of communal heating investigation,
  • presentation and questions from two representatives of major social housing developers active within Lewisham,
  • a discussion on out of borough placements for residents who are registered homeless
  • the closure of community centres.

A number of issues discussed would have to go back to the mayor so that he will be aware of the recommendations and progress of bills, reviews and consultations. The issues regarding housing include:

  • Social housing rents increasing
  • The sharp rise in private rental properties
  • Due to changes in housing bill by the government the situation has arisen where neighbours pay different prices for similar properties
  • Shortage of 2 bed and 3 bedroomed terraced properties in both social housing and private rental due to high demand (eg average rent for a 2 bed is £1300pcm which charity Shelter state that will require a salary of £56,000 in order to afford living costs)
  • Shortage of temporary accommodation in the borough
  • Increasing number of residents being housed in emergency circumstances out of borough and London itself (this is the case across London)

Influence of the select committee:

  • Can consider options that subvert budgetary concerns such as inviting charities that work with homeless people to meetings in order to discuss their approaches.
  • Can ask social housing and private rental questions that their residents would like to know the answers about
  • Suggest other committees who should be consulted or to review documents and make their own recommendations (eg. school heads groups)
  • Can highlight how individual changes can affect a number of specific vulnerable groups to ensure equality for all residents
  • Make other committees in addition to developers aware of any implications and implementation issues that recommendations may cause for residents


Housing is such an emotive issues across the country and within London due to high demand for private rentals and social housing and rapidly increasing house prices for potential homebuyers. As a recent Lewisham resident, it was reassuring to know that this Select Committee had the best interests of their ward residents firmly in mind when making decisions and ensured that all residents' specific needs and concerns as discussed in their surgeries were addressed.