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"Poor Doors"

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Friday 25 July 2014 7.54pm
Read an article in the Guardian online just now about "poor doors" - separate entrances to new developments, and although I get the idea of different service charges and all that, something about this divisiveness turns my stomach. I agree with Darren Johnson, Green Party LA member who says

"This trend shows contempt for ordinary people, and is about developers selling luxury flats to rich investors who don't want to mix with local people"

Here is the full article
Friday 25 July 2014 8.33pm
I agree entirely.

Here's a thought, how about the people that will inhabit these new social/affordable units are the people that are getting aimed out of their existing homes in the area? Ok, there wont be enough units to go around, but still....
Friday 25 July 2014 8.39pm
Thank goodness someone has picked up on this. I have been referring to them as the servants' entrance. I believe this is happening in the building that is going up on Pocock Street.
Friday 25 July 2014 9.46pm
This is why I thought the spike story was a big fat red herring, this is the story.
Friday 25 July 2014 9.47pm
one of the reasons why 'one the elephant' could not possibly have a single 'affordable' let alone 'social' housing was precisely because it wouldn't be viable (for developer) to build them. if they were to provide any, they'd have to build separate entrancies, lifts etc. southwark council happily approved the planning application (regardless of the utter disregard/breach of their own council policy which stipulates minimum 35% affordable and social housing in every new development at elephant & castle).
i still think this to be a discrimination as we're talking about segregation from a specific group of people.
what if people who want to buy those concierged fancy apartments were to say, 'we don't want to live next to local authority officers, let them have separate entrance at the back.' - how quickly would a council grant a planning permission?
or 'we don't want to have to mix with the chinese/french/nigerians/english'
how exactly would this be different?
cllr colley claimed it was all to do with service charges and not discrimination. guess we disagree.
Friday 25 July 2014 9.57pm
Karen I wrote:
Thank goodness someone has picked up on this. I have been referring to them as the servants' entrance. I believe this is happening in the building that is going up on Pocock Street.

Sad, but true. Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and developers tell me all the time that separate cores are necessary to keep service charges low. I have likened it the the US segregation policy called "separate but equal" for different school for the races. It is certainly separate but never equal.

Planners do push for pepper potting affordable units and access to shared facilities, such as communal areas, play areas, etc. Sometimes we secure access, other times not. I glad that people are picking up on these inequities. Developers rarely have an RSL on board at the planning permission stage, so it is impossible to find ideal solutions for the provision of affordable housing. Tenure blind housing is something I fight hard to deliver.
Friday 25 July 2014 10.09pm
boroughonian wrote:
This is why I thought the spike story was a big fat red herring, this is the story.
hm, i disagree, think it's part of the same narrative, separate doors for the 'inside', highly regulated privately secured 'outside'?
Friday 25 July 2014 10.39pm
It is precisely this sort of segregation, divisiveness (if that's the right word) or "exclusiveness" that made me think Bermondsey Street is anything but cool.

My view is that the council should build/develop places where people want to live and sell a portion off, but so that all properties are equal and using the same entrance. That way the "affordable" percentage would be truly affordable and not merely an afterthought and the council's coffers would benefit in more ways than one.
Saturday 26 July 2014 7.32am
While I can see the sense, logic and fairness of "pepper potting", does it not realistically create a greater issue for all tenures into the future. While the developer and RSL may be able to agree a level of fit and finish which accords with the financial contribution to be made, if the RSL's tenants either do not contribute to the service charge at all or contribute only to a reduced extent, at what point is it made clear to other flat owners that their service charges are not charged on a just and reasonable basis (sq footage or similar). Does it leave matters open to challenge through the LVT when the developer is long gone from the scene.

Increasingly, as developments (inevitably) reach higher into the sky, more services have to be provided at different stages through the building (refuse rooms on each floor etc) involving lower upfront cost but higher ongoing costs. No longer would it be the case (a la Empire Square and other developments along Long Lane with which I am familiar) that the RSL properties are at ground or 1st floor level with limited recurring costs.

This is an area in which central or devolved government should be providing (cringe) thought leadership to establish possible solutions. The "poor doors" are not appropriate - at least not to the extent that they seem like servants' entrances. Separate services, cores and entrances with limited maintenance obligations may be appropriate but they should be designed so as not to offend or impair dignity.
Saturday 26 July 2014 12.30pm
The Telegraph have picked up the story too.

Wondering if these "poor" people are the same ones who pick up a disproportionate share of the tax bill too. No offshore tax havens for them. I mean us, don't I?
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