OPINION – HOMELESS CRISIS? WHAT HOMELESS CRISIS?
Amid all the protests, demonstrations and council cabinet meetings over the ‘Homes for Lambeth’ controversy and the proposed demolition of six council estates one other major fact seems to have been overlooked.
In the case of Central Hill it’s not that the council want to demolish the estate. It’s that they want to demolish council homes and THEN build a large number of PRIVATE homes for SALE and for rent on them as part of the deal.
Where’s the logic in that?
Either Lambeth has a homeless crisis or it doesn’t. If families in privately-rented accommodation lose their homes, or are about to lose their homes, surely that is when a council steps in. NOT BEFORE.
One recent housing deal which Lambeth got involved in ended up with some of the new homes (on the Streatham Megabowl development) being advertised in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.*
Lambeth council claim they need to demolish six council estates across the borough and build more homes on them to help solve the borough’s homeless problems. They don’t.
All these people on the housing waiting list that Lambeth Labour’s bleeding hearts go on and on about who don’t get new homes on the six estates because new homes are being farmed out to private renters will just have to ….carry on waiting on the housing waiting list.
And it begs the question: just what are Lambeth council really up to?
WHY BUILD PRIVATE HOMES ON COUNCIL LAND UNLESS THERE IS SOMETHING THEY ARE – AS USUAL – NOT TELLING THE PEOPLE OF LAMBETH?
AND WHY WERE THE SIX COUNCIL ESTATES THEY CHOSE TO DEMOLISH REALLY PICKED?
One of the latest answers given on Lambeth’s website is that the reason for choosing Central Hill, Cressingham, Cotton Gardens on the Knight’s Walk estate, Fenwick, South Lambeth and Westbury – is that: “this includes locations where the existing estate is relatively low-density and where there is an opportunity to create additional much needed new homes.”
A further answer says “up to” 60 per cent of homes would be for council rent and 40 per cent for private tenure.
In an item headed “Lambeth confronts the housing crisis” posted by Lambeth council on March 18, 2016 they say: “The Housing Crisis that Lambeth faces is stark and severe. 21,000 people are now on our waiting list for social housing, 1,800 families are homeless and in temporary accommodation, including almost 5000 children. Over 1,300 families in the borough live in severely overcrowded accommodation.
“Families living in the private rented sector in Lambeth face an average rent close to £1,500 per month, have little security, with short tenancies.”
But in the council’s own cabinet report back in December 2014 a different line was being peddled:
“Progress with estate regeneration and housing delivery
2.9 A number of sites have been identified through a process set out in the October 2012 Estate Regeneration report whereby any estates meeting one or more of the following criteria would be eligible for regeneration:
• where the costs of delivering the Lambeth Housing Standard are prohibitive and/or
• Where residents and the Council have identified that the Lambeth Housing Standard works in themselves will neither address the fundamental condition of the properties nor address many of the wider social and economic issues experienced by residents and/or
• where the wider benefits arising from regeneration justify the intervention.”
In March 2012 a report to the council’s cabinet – when current council leader Cllr Lib Peck was the then cabinet member for regeneration and strategic housing – listed several recommendations.
One of these reads:
“To note the commitment to an estate regeneration programme which will have honest conversations with residents about the stock condition issues not likely to be resolved by one off investments”
Honest conversations? Just what on earth is going on?.
I think, as they say, we should be told. Problem with Lambeth is they only tell you what they want you to know……
* See: LAMBETH COUNCIL ALLOWED PRIVATE DEVELOPER TO REDUCE AFFORDABLE HOUSING News From Crystal Palace July 15th 2016