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Developers have approached the council to buy another block of flats

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Tuesday 15 October 2013 9.02pm
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Rambling Phil,

Yes, you got me there. I do accept that the Conservatives used right to buy as a political tool.

You missed Shirley Porter's gerrymandering scandal in Westminster in the eighties which was a localised but scandalous affair which led to her exile in Israel to escape prosecution in the UK.

Right to buy was a big mistake - worst of all Councils were not permitted to use the receipts from council house purchases to build more council housing - that fact alone is probably the largest contributor to the housing crisis we have now.

But - 13 years of Blair and Brown did not seek to reverse this policy.

It is the current Conservative led government that has done what Labour never did - change the financial model to make Council house building viable again for Councils which is exactly what the progressive Labour administration in Southwark is taking advantage of now.

This is why I want to see the Council acting in a pro-active way to raise funding in sites and build more public housing - but ths new housing must not be allocated solely to the economically inactive.

This is not how you create balanced communites.


Here's a link to the GLA data I referred to on levels of economic (in)activity amongst Social Housing Tenants in London.

Next time baseless claims are made about Southwark Council wanting to make people homeless - I will make a mental note to ask for evidence on this also.

The soi disant 'question' at the end of your post is completely un-related to the points I have been making. I am interested in a critical look at the way Council Houses are currently allocated and to expose the manifestly wrong priority system which is currently operated by the powers that be.

But consider this for one moment - if it transpires that an able-bodied Council Tenant of working age has been unemployed for more than 5 years in a high employment area such as Greater London and has not accepted any job offers nor any training programmes made available to them, then there is a case for their Zone 1 publically-funded apartment to be exchanged for one in, say, Stoke-on-Trent, to allow a London worker to live closer to where they work rather than commuting 2 hours each way, every day.

That might be enough of a nudge to get people back into work.
Tuesday 15 October 2013 9.12pm
Floodplain wrote:
But consider this for one moment - if it transpires that an able-bodied Council Tenant of working age has been unemployed for more than 5 years in a high employment area such as Greater London and has not accepted any job offers nor any training programmes made available to them...

So how many people do you think fit this since they would have had there benefit stopped if they refused a job offer or a training programme?
Tuesday 15 October 2013 9.46pm
I did not write that - I am not saying that their benefits should be stopped.

I was proposing that long-term unemployed who refuse job offers or training should be re-located in lower-priced areas so that working families can live closer to where where the jobs are.

Clearly there is no gain for anyone for a benefit recipient to be subsidised to live in an area of high employment if they have made no effort to accept job offers or training.

Let me say it again - Council housing was intended for working people.
Tuesday 15 October 2013 10.05pm
Floodplain wrote:
I did not write that - I am not saying that their benefits should be stopped.

I never said you are saying their benefit should be stopped. I was pointing out that it is what happens now. I'm wondering how many people you think are starving in the dark with rent arrears mounting. That's how many people will suit your idea. How many do you think that is?
Tuesday 15 October 2013 10.08pm
Floodplain, could you define the "balanced communities" you mention for me? And perhaps suggest areas in London which meet your definition, and how this can be quantified?

Cllr Fiona Colley now employs the phrase "people from all walks of life" but I have no idea what she means by this - both phrases seem to me to sound reasonable at first hearing, but when used to justify evictions/mass displacement of residents, as at the Heygate, they become quite loaded, and it would be good to know what you mean by it and how you would measure success in achieving a balanced community.
Tuesday 15 October 2013 10.49pm

I really fail to understand what it is you are trying to say. Do you actually think that I want people to starve in the dark? How absurd.


A balanced communty would be one where there is no overall majority in terms of socio-economic groups. In other words, a healthy mix.

Unfortunately most of London is not like this. What we see are rich ghettos and poor ghettos - and it is getting worse.

The way that Council houses are allocated only to the most desperate worsens the poor ghettos and polarises society further. I do not want to see council estates populated exclusively by a welfare underclass.

What I am proposing is that this needs to change, to give working people a chance to qualify for council housing. To make Council housing an option again for working families as it once was.

I am sure that you read recently about so-called 'super-gentrification' in areas such as Islington. What is happening in those areas is relatively new. Areas of private housing are now too expensive for the professional middle class that gentrified them from the1960s onwards - this housing is only now acessible to the super-rich overseas investors who don't even live in these properties.

The super-extreme polarisation between these streets of super-gentrified housing and nearby council estates where levels of economic activity reach levels well over 60% (refer to GLA data in my earlier post) is a concern to me as I do not want to see London turn into a type of South American rich/poor conflict.

PS: Please could you provide here the evidence to substantiate your assertion that Southwark Council has allegedly evicted people from their Council homes.
Tuesday 15 October 2013 10.52pm
Shaggy as Southwark have not revealed any plans to increase council housing on the site and have poh-poohed such suggestions in the past there can be no net gain only a loss.
There is no provision in Development Securities plans for affordable housing and we have seen in the recent past how Southwark have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by developers and not get the affordable housing as promised.
Julian Barwick of Development Securities said that "The proposals draw on our expertise in taking derelict or otherwise redundant land and creating value through a process of regeneration". Please tell me what part of the Styles House estate fits the above criteria.
Because I object to these plans doesn't mean I have a self interest whether justifiable or not. For your record I am not a council tenant nor leasee, I do not live in Styles House but I do live in the area and am aware of how most locals feel about such plans.

I would like to let Floodplain know that the original purpose of council housing was to re-home the inhabitants of the slums between the two wars when 300,000 homes- both private and public- were built each year. Given the will we could return to that enlightened age.
Tuesday 15 October 2013 11.13pm
oh I get so confused....who to blame? Thatcher or Labour led Southwark. anyone in power? ever?
Tuesday 15 October 2013 11.23pm
Karen I wrote:
I know Pros; it was a stupid question.

it was everything but a stupid question! or as stupid as 'why do we allow them to get away with it?!'

Tuesday 15 October 2013 11.49pm
Floodplain, thank you for your response. I am still digesting the explanation of balanced communities (and struggling a bit with the bit that says that it is wrong that Council houses are allocated only to the most desperate), but meanwhile evidence that there have been evictions of Heygate tenants can be found here, part of a proof of evidence provided by Jon Abbott at the CPO leaseholder public inquiry - unfortunately it takes legal action for Southwark Council to reveal any information that our politicians think is sensitive, such as evicting tenants.

You will note that this document unashamedly states that Southwark Council haven't collected this information, but also that they do not deny that evictions have taken place.
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