Thursday 15th March 2018
In the first of a number of WISH events leading up to International Women’s Day, WISH London brought together three political candidates ahead of the London local elections in May. Delegates heard how housing providers can work closer with local politicians to build the homes the capital desperately needs.
Over 65 women attended from all corners of the housing sector including, social housing, commercial developers, architects, consultants and contractors. The event was held at the historic Arlington conference centre in Camden and women in housing had the unique opportunity to hear advice from political candidates who have the power to make or break new homes in planning committees.
The panel included: Councillors Nicola Dykes (Conservative), Sem Moema (Labour), and Liberal Democrat candidate, Carl Quilliam.
Some of the key themes that emerged included, engaging with local councillors on new developments at the earliest opportunity, doing your research before approaching councillors and the importance of working in partnership. One Councillor made the point that local authorities are under enormous pressure to deliver on their housing targets and that most councils cannot physically deliver these homes. She explained they rely on housing providers to build high-quality homes which complement the local area, so partnership is key.
With the housing crisis in London a key local election issue, and with the lack of available land for housing, it’s clear that the housing industry can do a lot more to engage with local politicians and councils to help tackle the housing crisis. WISH London is very proud that the event was a success and intends to host much-needed similar events in the future.
Chairwoman of WISH London, Erica Carras said: “I’m so proud of my WISH London Board who pulled off this event seamlessly. It’s so essential that we host these kinds of events for our members because we’re interested in helping women in housing advance their careers and many of our members find the local political system difficult to navigate.”
Cllr Sem Moema said: “It was great to see so many women in housing at the election briefing. It’s important that organisations like WISH exist to encourage and support women in the sector. I was particularly pleased to give some political insight to women working with local politicians. I think there is a hesitation to engage with politicians on housing and planning and that’s exactly the opposite of what housing professionals should be doing. Engagement is not only essential, it is absolutely necessary to ensure you have residents and local politicians onside.”