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Agenda item

Major Scrutiny Review: Strategic Review of Overcrowding in Islington - update


Item was taken in conjunction with item B7, New Build Benchmarking data.

Ian Swift in summary updated the meeting on what had been carried out so far as part of the committee’s review exercise on overcrowding and includes:-

Islington has significant levels of housing need in the borough.


That overcrowding is one of the areas of housing need that is observed in both the homelessness and housing register pathways.


Committee has received a series of presentations which illustrated the work taking place within the council and with partner agencies to address the issues of overcrowding in Islington.


The council has worked in partnership with the University College London which has produced a detailed questionnaire for all households overcrowded and seeking larger accommodation through the Housing Register. Questionnaire have been distributed to the 2,909 overcrowded households on the housing register and the results will be considered at a future Housing Scrutiny Committee meeting.


Committee also received a comprehensive report outlining the latest data available on overcrowding and the work currently undertaken to address this issue. This data highlighted that only 6% of people on the Housing register will be rehoused into permanent council and housing association accommodation in the future. 


Households from minority ethnic backgrounds are three times likely to be affected by overcrowding than white households.


A number of key findings from a recent National Housing Federation research programme shows that for example, four in ten (41%) are in overcrowded homes, children are sharing a bedroom with an adult. Also in one in four overcrowded homes (26%), children are having to share a bed with someone else and that over half of all respondents (52%) have had to sleep somewhere other than their bedroom, such as a living room, bathroom, corridor or kitchen due to overcrowding.


It was noted that through its review, Islington Council is calling for a long-term, national plan for meeting housing need, with the aim of driving a drastic increase in the number of affordable homes over the next decade.


In response to a question on identifying housing needs and it’s relationship with the planning process, the Director reminded members of the recent presentation by planning officers which highlighted for example with the former Holloway prison site and its various housing mix, that there is constant discussion and collaboration between officers in Housing Needs and Planning Officers to assess housing demand and requirements.

On the request for benchmarking data with other neighbouring authorities, the Corporate Director advised that the briefing notes two sources , GLA Housing Starts and Completions and DLUHC and secondly data from other local authorities with similar development programmes. It was noted that presently there is no single source to provide accurate comparison.


Members were advised that the specific benchmarking task has been undertaken using data that relates to the financial years 01/04/2018 to 31/03/2022 therefore the numbers shown for Islington do not include all of the new build homes that will contribute to the delivery of our 2018-2022 550 target.

That the data used for benchmarking shows that Islington had 161 completions in this period, but this does not include 35 completions from the first quarter of 2018 (as the financial year starts in April) and 77 completions that are yet to be reported to the GLA and DLUHC.

Members were advised that when considering performances against the target of 550 over the 2018-2022 period Council delivered a total of 527 new council homes (combined starts and completions).

That the slight shortfall of the original target is due to one scheme (Hathersage and Besant) not being able to proceed due to viability issues arising predominantly from external market factors.
In response to a request for a 10 year period of comparison data and the possibility of  including information from boroughs south of the river, the Director acknowledged that officers will endeavour to provide the information noting that schemes that have been granted planning person may represent a challenge but counterparts will be approached.

The Chair reminded the meeting that the review on overcrowding will continue into the new municipal year as the committee will still be taking evidence from some of the boroughs housing association and residents feedback.

Chair also acknowledged that addressing overcrowding remains a priority for the Council, that more data and in-depth analysis and innovative approach will be required.

That the update be noted.

That officers seek to obtain comparison data from other authorities over a period of 10 years

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