Redbridge commission hopes to create a fairer borough

Cllr Farah Hussain (Valentines, Labour), cabinet member for a fairer Redbridge

Cllr Farah Hussain (Valentines, Labour), cabinet member for a fairer Redbridge - Credit: Archant

An ambitious initiative aiming to reduce inequality and poverty in the borough has revealed its findings following an 11-month investigation.

The Redbridge Fairness Commission has published its 19 recommendations for how the council should tackle the issues, spanning topics such as housing, residents’ quality of life and economic strategy.

It was formed in January, with a one-off cost of £20,000, and has seen 14 councillors and community figures peruse hundreds of pages of documents submitted by members of the public and hear from 33 local and national experts, on how Redbridge can become a better place to live.

Cllr Farah Hussain (Valentines, Labour), cabinet member for a fairer Redbridge, said: “We set up the Fairness Commission as we believed the inequalities in the borough needed to be addressed.

“With the increasing pressure on our resources, now it’s even more important than ever to make sure we are focussed on making our services fair and our most vulnerable residents are not overlooked.”

Housing recommendations made include a call for at least 30 per cent of all future developments to include affordable housing and a suggestion that the council should identify two plots of land for large-scale Community Land Trusts (CLTs).

CLTs see homes built on the land sold and rented at rates linked to local incomes.

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They are owned by a trust comprising members who live, work, or have strong ties to the area.

John Clifton, church leader of the Ilford Salvation Army, Clements Road, has previously called for the council to explore the possibility.

Other recommendations include the formation of an immigration task group to assess how best to help migrants arriving in Redbridge, the development of a Redbridge Disability Charter to improve disabled residents’ quality of life and the creation of an economic strategy including plans to attract universities into establishing local campuses.

The commission hosted monthly meetings on different topics and interviewed 60 people from community groups.

Cllr Hussain said: “The commission have done fantastic work over the course of the year and have spoken to many residents, community groups, key organisations and council officers to really get into the detail of the issues affecting Redbridge.

“We will now take a look at the recommendations and see how we can implement them.”

The report will go now before Redbridge’s cabinet, which will respond by February 2016.

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