A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New homes for Hackney

One of the biggest issues in the ward where I am a councillor (Chatham Ward in central Hackney) is overcrowding in social housing - large families stuck in a one or two bedroom flat because there aren't enough large homes at affordable rents.

There's been some good news: http://www.themovechannel.com/news/8bf2b82d-c8f0/

Hackney has got London's biggest share of a new pot of HCA (Homes & Communities Agency) cash for building new social rented homes. We've been awarded £6.26m to build 87 new homes with some of them going on a site next to Bridge House on Homerton High Street in my ward.

Hackney has seen 800 new affordable homes delivered in the last year.


Blogger Merseymike said...

Good to hear. I do think this is an area where Labour could and should have done so much more.

As I always say, if social housing is so unpopular, how come there is a 5 year waiting list for it in many areas?

I also think much of the conflict relating to race is the product of housing policy, both in terms of shortage and the understandable concentration on inner city housing renewal, leaving many of the 'outer estates' as the new slums

3:17 pm, January 21, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

Property ownership is the only real way of delivering good housing. I've seen the quality of social housing and even the new stuff is falling apart 3 years after being built. Some of this is partly down to poor tenants but on the whole the standard of building is poor.

Labour created the housing problem by allowing the boom in property prices which in turn forced many working people into rented accommodation. Even a combined income of 50,000 a year these days won't get you on the property ladder...is it any wonder people are turning to the state for help.

Housing associations are no different to private landlords apart from they get cheap loans for hitting ridiculous government targets.

Social housing is so popular because this government has created a climate where people have no choice.

I know this isn't all Labours fault as the last conservative government was equally to blame but why on earth did Brown not control the market.

The future is basically lots of housing associations going bust because the rent from these properties is not covering the cost of keeping them and the loans borrowed to build them. As government subsidies fall more and more housing associations will have to raise rent for face serious shortfalls.

8:07 pm, January 21, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you sort out the 235 empty council homes, and countless squats and let them out to homeless families?

8:32 pm, January 21, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Email me the addresses of any alleged squats and I'll get on the case.

Council flats are usually empty because they are either being restored to useable condition between tenants or are being viewed but rejected by tenants because of their location.

9:56 pm, January 21, 2010

Anonymous Sort it out said...

What about the big squat on
St Marks Rise/Colveston Crescent in Dalston? It's not hard to miss it's surrouded with bright orange hoarding. Squatters have been there near on 2 years

8:14 am, January 22, 2010

Blogger opus said...

Soon every square inch of Hackney will be covered in social housing.
Every time I turn around there is a new block shooting up proudly.
[I wouldn't want to live in the block on the site formerly occupied by a petrol station in Homerton High Street, but that's just me.]
Not wishing to be parochial, but given the regular grid-lock we experience in Homerton, has anyone got any ideas on what is the optimum population for an area like Hackney taking account of water supplies, sewerage, traffic congestion, schooling etc?

12:53 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The housing will inevitably be going to an immigrant family living on benefits whose children will live on benefits too and have lots of kids because that's the way to get social housing).

Congratulations, Luke. Securing Hackney for Labour.

(70% of Hackney's housing is paid for by HB. 95% of the accomodation above 2 beds is HB.)

1:06 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous tim f said...

I have high hopes for this tranche of council housing - they may be the best council homes since the ones Nye Bevan built. Most are 3 & 4 bedroom, energy efficient homes in mixed development areas. I'm sure they will be highly desirable; just hope they are not quickly sold.

3:14 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous Broken Britain said...

And just what is £6 million going to build? By the time the building consultants, contract lawyers, and the architects get their gruby hands on it there will be nothing left.

Luke could you also explain why there is no social housing provision in the Dalston Square development despite the land being council owned and why have most of the flats been sold to landlords in the Far East? I understand exactly the same is happening with the Woodberry Down 'redevelopment'.

Hackney council tax payers are in affect subsidising property purchases for people on the far east.
Long live the Labour Party.

6:56 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

Wow! What a load of merciless propaganda. How about checking the other side of the story on the BBC website about shifty secret deals in Shoreditch!

6:56 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

GLA has a target for 50% of homes built in new developments to be affordable, and for 70% of that amount to be socially-rented.

There are more than 15,000 people on Hackney Council's housing waiting list.

But the Hackney Council-approved Bishop's Place plan only contains 21% affordable housing on site and 5% socially-rented housing.

7:00 pm, January 22, 2010

Anonymous Jamie said...

I think it is great that new Social Housing is being built in mixed-tenure communities.

However, there are a number of flaws in this current approach.

Firstly, within these mixed-tenure redevelopments of Council Estates, for example "Woodberry Down" in the north west of the Borough, the quantity of Private Sector for sale properties vastly outstrips that of Social Rented Units. There will only be approximately an extra 80 or 90 or so more Social Rented units, over and above the current number on the Woodberry Estate.

This is a practice which is sadly repeated up and down the Country.

Secondly, in the case of Shoreditch, what was the point in Hackney Council designating the Light Bar area a Conservation Area, to then, as may seem apparent to observers, then, again (see: Dalston Square Development) effortlessly get "Into Bed" with a Property Developer (Hammerson) and give approval for a monsterous 50 story Skyscraper looming directly over said Conservation Area? The Bishops Place development will no doubt contain Extortinately Expensive Apartments with virtually no Social Housing to speak of. To destroy a newly designated Conservation area almost overnoight is bad enough. To allow such a damaging development planning permission without anywhere near enough provision for Social Housing is just "Rubbing More Salt Into The Wound".

I appeal to Luke, Hackney Labour Group and the wider Labour Party, a solid start is in the process of being made regarding building more Social Housing. Dont waste the opportunity. Above all, dont "Cosy Up" to the likes of Hammerson and other Greedy Corporate Property Developers. To continue to appear to be doing so will not do the Labour Party any favours at all. In fact it will do the very reverse.

11:43 am, January 23, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Rich ; the Germans and Dutch seem quite able to provide decent rented housing

There is no chance of many people ever becoming home owners at current prices particularly in the south

6:01 pm, January 23, 2010

Anonymous Get Real said...

Merseymike the Germans and Dutch do not have to deal with over 1 million East Europeans in Britain putting even more pressure on housing deparments with huge waiting lists

9:03 pm, January 23, 2010

Blogger kris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:30 pm, January 23, 2010

Blogger kris said...

People live in overcrowded conditions because they keep having kids.

why are we subsidising people to have large families whent the rest of us have to save to afford larger premises?

and BTW Rich, it was margaret Thatcher who introduced Right to Buy. People bought their flats at 70% discount then rented them back to the Council, at market rates, to house asylum seekers. Brilliant!

Then there are the others on benefit who managed to get mortgages - who can't pay service and major works charges. These people were sold a lie and didn't understand the responsibilities of home ownership.

11:33 pm, January 23, 2010

Anonymous Henry Butcher said...


May I thank you and Hackney Council for giving the people of Malaysia the opportunity to invest in the future of Hackney.

Terima kasih

6:48 pm, January 25, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

Mike the Germans in particular build better homes, building standards are far higher and they tend to build with people in mind. They build communities and not just housing estates.

The problem with social housing is that they are literally just thrown up and the people put in them can hardly afford to heat them.

We have a real problem with poverty in this country and I see this daily when I visit people living in such schemes.

The welfare state is not there just to prop up the poorest society. The welfare system was design for all people...and not just the poor. The only real way of getting people out of poverty is through ownership and well paid work.

If people can't afford a roof over their heads without government aid then what does this tell us about this country.

9:54 pm, January 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, not saying anything personal, but have you noticed all the Labour-run areas become poor and dependent on state help?

10:16 pm, July 29, 2010


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