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Thursday 5 February 2015 12.47am
sjac wrote:
Um, suziq, the post was legitimate but of course the "story" was made up - that was kind of the point...
Anyway:

So no one can actually give a good reason as to why this particular decision to amend access rights is a bad thing, other than by bringing up general comments that either:

(a) planning shouldn't be altered, even if it will make social housing more affordable; or
(b) private tenants should just pay for social tenants.

I still don't get this. The point of social housing is to provide quality housing stock for those in need, the more affordable the better. This has been accomplished, even without the second garden (which would make it LESS affordable!). And while I accept that this is a socialist-leaning board, surely it must be accepted that private owners (who will have indirectly paid for part of the social housing development through their purchase) can't be expected to pay for luxury amenities for social housing tenants in perpetuity (and would that really be the best use of that money)?

There are many issues in Southwark that cause upset that I can at least understand, but this isn't one of them. My personal view: when you feign outrage on every issue without a practical solution or at least a reasoned argument, you lessen the legitimacy of your overall position.

Let's turn this around: when you force the realities of an ever widening gap between rich and poor upon less well-off people by saying "You can't use this garden" or "you'll have to use this entrance" or "we'll put spikes against the homeless here" you are not offering a practical solution or a reasoned argument either, you are just ramming the power of money down people's throats. Nothing to do with socialist-leaning either btw., it's just walking all over people, because, well, you think you can. It's nasty, it's cynical and if recent events are anything to go by, people are not going to take it.
Thursday 5 February 2015 1.00am
Coincidentally I just finished reading J.G. Ballard's "High-Rise", which is to be released as a movie soon. Good timing.
Thursday 5 February 2015 2.20am
eDWaRD WooDWaRD wrote:
sjac wrote:
Um, suziq, the post was legitimate but of course the "story" was made up - that was kind of the point...
Anyway:

So no one can actually give a good reason as to why this particular decision to amend access rights is a bad thing, other than by bringing up general comments that either:

(a) planning shouldn't be altered, even if it will make social housing more affordable; or
(b) private tenants should just pay for social tenants.

I still don't get this. The point of social housing is to provide quality housing stock for those in need, the more affordable the better. This has been accomplished, even without the second garden (which would make it LESS affordable!). And while I accept that this is a socialist-leaning board, surely it must be accepted that private owners (who will have indirectly paid for part of the social housing development through their purchase) can't be expected to pay for luxury amenities for social housing tenants in perpetuity (and would that really be the best use of that money)?

There are many issues in Southwark that cause upset that I can at least understand, but this isn't one of them. My personal view: when you feign outrage on every issue without a practical solution or at least a reasoned argument, you lessen the legitimacy of your overall position.

Let's turn this around: when you force the realities of an ever widening gap between rich and poor upon less well-off people by saying "You can't use this garden" or "you'll have to use this entrance" or "we'll put spikes against the homeless here" you are not offering a practical solution or a reasoned argument either, you are just ramming the power of money down people's throats. Nothing to do with socialist-leaning either btw., it's just walking all over people, because, well, you think you can. It's nasty, it's cynical and if recent events are anything to go by, people are not going to take it.

Here's where I have an issue eDWaRD: I'm not saying that affordable housing in London isn't an issue, nor am I saying that there aren't wealth inequality issues to be dealt with (and I'm a big supporter of a form of Land Value Tax to help start to deal with this). My problem is that when people focus on relative non-issues such as this one (46 social rent flats have been made available in one of the most expensive areas of one of the most expensive cities in the world and people are fixated on a measure that keeps them MORE AFFORDABLE without materially diminishing the enjoyment of the tenants) it sends the message that they will simply complain about everything and they are therefore more likely to be ignored. Do I have all the answers? No, but developments must be encouraged to increase supply of housing stock and a rebalancing of wealth (through LVT and, dare I say it, a restructuring of inheritance tax and tax on global wealth for UK/European citizens) would be welcome. If posh garden access for council tenants living next to Tower Bridge is the issue being advanced I fail to see how the support of the masses will be achieved.
Thursday 5 February 2015 9.57am
There was no need to apologise, Ivanhoe, but it is nonetheless appreciated. Thanks James for pointing out the obvious.

SJAC, as Ivanhoe has suggested, I will attempt, perhaps clumsily, to address the "logic" in your post:

SJAC wrote:
Developers make homes even more affordable

Really? As far as I'm aware, these are multimillion pound apartments being built on probably the last remaining bit of prime land on the Southbank. Berkeley Homes tried for years and years to get their hands on it and finally did. How have they made homes "even more affordable"? The social rent charged will be in line with that charged elsewhere in the borough for housing association developments.

SJAC wrote:
provided to a very fortunate group of people for a tiny fraction of their true value have saved the tenants from potentially escalating costs by removing the requirement that they share upkeep costs for a shared garden.

Tenants, private and council alike, don't contribute towards upkeep. Their rent payment includes such a proportion. Private tenants who may end up living in the non-social housing element of the development will enjoy the benefits of this garden and they won't be expected to contribute towards its upkeep.

SJAC wrote:
Resident John Doe stated: "I'm so glad that they've limited our costs by excluding us from this potentially very expensive shared garden. Given that we have our own roof garden anyway we'd probably never use it, and the increased service charges that it would have brought would probably have been a struggle. Did I mention that I pay only £161 per week for my 3-bedroom flat?!? It's incredible, given that the market price would be at least 10 times that. Now that I don't have to pay for the increased service charge my home will remain truly affordable. Thanks Southwark and Berkeley Homes!"

This was where my point about vitriol emanated from. Social housing by its very nature charges rent at affordable levels. I reiterate the point that social housing tenants, like privately renting tenants, DO NOT contribute towards the upkeep of the freehold premises; they only pay rent. "Resident John Doe" is a figment of your imagination and is in no way representative of a social housing tenant.

The fact of the matter is that in exchange for getting their hands on a prime piece of land, generating billions and billions of pounds of profit, Berkeley Homes committed to providing whatever number of social housing units on the development AND to provide equal access to the garden. That is key source of "outrage on behalf of this group of tenants": that they promised to do something, that was accepted by the council, and they then sought to renege - and were successful - on that promise.
Thursday 5 February 2015 9.59am
And I fail to see why allowing the social housing tenants access to this garden would make it in any way less affordable for them. The cost of maintaining the garden will be the same regardless. In any event, though I suspect you might not like it, social housing rents are capped and so I don't follow the logic in your point there either.
Thursday 5 February 2015 10.33am
I *think* that sjac is saying that, while rents are fixed, there is also a service charge, in addition to rent, which will be shared between private and social housing residents and which will pay for the upkeep of things like gardens.

Including the upkeep costs of this garden in everyone's service charge will increase the svce chg for social tenants. Svce chg in these types of blocks can be very high in absolute terms. It may only represent a fraction of the rent/mortgage costs of someone who's in there at market value, but it would represent a significant proportion of the social rent, which in turn may make it unaffordable for social tenants.

That was what I understood. If I understood it correctly, I think sjac has a logical argument. Don't know if I agree with it, but it's logical. I may, of course, be wrong in my understanding.

...if you press it, they will come.
Thursday 5 February 2015 10.44am
And in fairness, on looking into it, I must take back my proposition that tenants do not pay service charges - indeed, looking at my rent statement, I myself pay them - but that doesn't detract from the substance of my argument, I don't think.
Thursday 5 February 2015 11.07am
It's a shame that we no longer care enough about children.
Obviously its gonna be an ornamental type garden and not a real garden.
They wouldn't want children messing it up by touching the plants or playing around.

And the roof? How long until that closes?
Keep the children out of sight, pesky oiks.

There's no finance alibi really? Is there? If there are charges that a tenant cannot afford to pay then most likely these will be covered by benefits inc Housing Benefit up to the cap limit.Just as happens all over London with the tax payer picking up the bill for £billions.

"Service charges
Service charges that can be paid by housing benefit include:

fuel charges for communal areas
charges for communal laundry facilities
charges for lifts, entry phones, gardens and children's play areas"

Very poor work by the Council however entirely deliberate and planned by them. This is what they wanted all along.

Playgrounds and gardens are being built all the time in "gated" developments which could have been opened to children living nearby who have no access to a garden or safe doorstep play area. It's Southwark policy in practice: "not you", we're united to serve ourselves.

I think the new children's playground at Gillam House development, formally Silwood Estate, is residents only. We objected, and were ignored. The boundary between blocks being something that small children will not understand.

"why can't I play in the garden mummy?"

By now any notions that our Councillors are remotely left wing or socialist etc. really should have been dispelled. Its all about what you can get, especially Southwark Labour who are the worst bunch of fakes in decades.
Thursday 5 February 2015 11.09am
No one has yet mentioned that the wealthy owners of these luxury flats probably won't even be living in them. Just stashing their cash as investments, as is the case with so many of these developments.
At leaset the social housing units will become homes for people.

Homes for people to live in.
Now that is what we need in Old London Town?
Thursday 5 February 2015 11.11am
Ivanhoe wrote:
I think sjac has a logical argument. Don't know if I agree with it, but it's logical. I may, of course, be wrong in my understanding.

Logical arguments are overrated, they are often just a more subtle form of outshouting others used by the more eloquent and articulate. Fox news make loads of logical arguments, yet they seem intent purely on inciting a Yankee version of IS/Jihadism.

On a different note, Boris Johnson doesn't even bother with logical arguments, subtle or not - when challenged on either the state of Tooley Street or the Garden Bridge, his main argument to shut anyone up just seems to be "It'll be brilliant".
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