Network launches to support new council housing in London

Renewal of the Grange Farm estate by Potter Raper for LB Harrow. Picture: Potter Raper

Future of London launches a network backed by the Mayor of London to provide peer support and private sector expertise to council housing development teams.

As local authorities across London have re-established themselves as housebuilders, demand is increasing for peer support from other boroughs and private sector experts.

The new Council-Led Housing Network is backed by the Mayor of London and open to all London boroughs. The network responds to an independent report by Bloomberg Associates on speeding up council-led housebuilding, which was commissioned by the Mayor of London.

At the launch of the network on 26 July 2023, Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor of London, welcomed a “golden era” of council housebuilding with a renewed civic pride among London boroughs who are once again building new homes at scale.

Watch the launch webinar

In the discussion that followed with over 100 participants, the themes to emerge included:

  • the ongoing challenge of viability and the need for greater public subsidy or new models of delivery
  • the importance of local authorities setting their appetite for the risks inherent in housing development
  • the opportunity for boroughs as landowners to look at development and existing property refurbishment holistically
  • the need to factor into value for money all the social value created by new developments for places, people and local economies
  • the success of delivery to date and the potential to share learning and address issues in common together

Once fully operational, the network will offer four types of support:

  • Opportunities to discuss general development issues with an expert panel of professional consultants
  • Continuous learning peer groups where council development managers can share experience and learn from other boroughs
  • A project twinning programme to enable boroughs to develop similar projects in parallel
  • A resources library which includes good practice materials.

Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, said:

“The Mayor and I are proud to be funding Future of London’s new Council-Led Housing Network as part of our commitment to champion council housebuilding in London.

“With help from the GLA, councils have entered a golden era of housebuilding with more than 23,000 City Hall-funded council homes started since 2018. This is the highest number since the 1970s.

“The network will provide council housing officers with peer-to-peer support, good practice sharing and access to expert knowledge to help build the in-house skills and capacity needed for quality council homes to be built.”

Collaborating to share skills and expertise

The GLA also supports the Housing Development Academy, which was set up by the London Housing Directors’ Group (LHDG) to provide development management courses specifically for council teams.

The Academy, which is also delivered by Future of London, and the new network are examples of London boroughs collaborating to build their in-house skills and expertise.

Visakha Sri Chandrasekera, Housing Programmes Director at Future of London, said:

“As councils in London build more homes, interest in sharing experience and having access to expertise from across the housing sector has never been higher. The new network will provide a platform to connect teams and create opportunities to grow their inhouse skills and capacity.”

Mark Baigent, Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture at LB Redbridge, said:

“I’m pleased to see Future of London introducing a peer-to-peer learning programme that will connect development staff across the capital to make the most of our collective experience.

“The support that will also come from the access to an expert panel for discussions on our current and emerging challenges is very valuable.”

Watts Grove development for LB Tower Hamlets by BPTW (Picture: BPTW)

About the expert panel of the Council-Led Housing Network

The expert panel will be the first part of the network’s offer to go live. It will provide an opportunity to discuss general development issues with consultants who have a track record in supporting council housing delivery.

Teams working on council-led housing development can register to access this offer for free, thanks to sponsorship from the GLA and panel members.

Future of London has initially signed up four partners with expertise in advising councils on housebuilding. Council development teams will be able to discuss ideas and options to resolve their development challenges.

The partners are BPTWPotter RaperRed Loft and TLT.

Neill Campbell, Partner at, BPTW, said:

“BPTW has been collaborating with councils for many years to support housing design and delivery. We see their role as being vital to meeting the challenges of the housing crisis across many areas from supply to quality, safety, affordability, and sustainability.

“Building up the expertise of council teams is extremely important in meeting these challenges, and we are delighted to offer our own architectural expertise to support the Council-Led Housing Network.”

Robert Humphrey, Director at Potter Raper, said:

“As a construction consultancy with extensive experience of delivering social housing, our dedicated team of professionals are committed to sharing our knowledge through working with local authorities to create exemplar affordable homes for individuals and families.

“We fully support the mission of London local authorities to increase housebuilding and truly believe in the fundamental importance of providing affordable housing options for everyone.”

Danny Sutcliffe, Partner at Red Loft, said:

“We are really excited to be part of the Future of London expert panel. If we are to tackle the housing crisis, it is clear that local authorities have a key role play in delivering more affordable homes and at Red Loft we have been providing expert support to the sector for over 20 years. Great places need brilliant advice.”

David Meecham, Partner at TLP, said:

“TLT is working with local authority clients to support their council-led new build with expert legal advice. We have seen the difference that council housebuilding is making to the supply of new homes in London critical to the future of the city as a place for all.

“We are therefore delighted to be supporting this initiative to bring the council sector together, using its strength to create more and better homes for Londoners.”

Fine out more about the Council-Led Housing Network and register interest here.

Thanks for our partners BPTW, Potter Raper, Red Loft and TLT