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Housing, development, and the changing population - Discuss!

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Monday 30 March 2015 12.10pm
sjac wrote:
The "vacant homes" argument is an oft-used red herring as well. Long-term empty homes in Southwark total 853, which is 0.67% of housing stock (lower than the national average by some measure). Some of these will also be unfit for occupation. While accepting that one empty home is one too many, eliminating the empty home problem is far from the panacea that it's held up to be.

If you say so. I might just as well say that the immigration argument is a red herring and also that voting UKIP is far from the panacea that some hold it up to be, but you kind of already imply that yourself. 853 empty homes? Well, that is a solution to 853 problems. That is 853 more than the current inertia on the situation. It's got to start somewhere, let's start there.

Whatever you think of immigration: "reversing" it is not an option, especially not in London - if you look at all the production and creative agencies for example, or big brands like Xbox, also the ones popping up in SE1, they employ so many foreign people on account and project management level because of their language skills and in-market knowledge, you're never going to replace them. I currently work for a production company, and 70% of our business is with the EU. We have German, Italian and French PMs and AMs who do a job most of their English counterparts couldn't do, also because of their lack in language skills. I don't know what percentage of the immigrants end up in that line of work, but what I've also noticed is that many of my British colleagues hail from the North, it's actual a rarity to find native Londoners. May have to do with the industry I'm in, but still, I don't think people have a realistic idea immigration, as it's much easier to make sweeping assumptions on the subject.
Monday 30 March 2015 1.09pm
It's not "if I say so", it's the reality. Let's say that over the next few years we can cut the long-term vacant homes by a further 2/3 (which would put Southwark among the councils with the lowest amount of empty homes in the country). That's an extra 563 available homes, so room for another 1400 people (based on average ratios in the borough), or 3.5% of the 40,000 that are forecast to move into Southwark over the next 15 years. It's also less than half the number of new homes that will be created on the Heygate estate alone. But as you say, it's something, so sure, let's start there.

Completely agree with you on immigration, and am happy with that (it's part of what makes London great). So if we accept that the growth will continue and that filling empty homes is only a very minor part of the solution, what are the viable alternatives to the current course of redevelopment? And if there aren't any viable alternatives, why all the complaints?
Monday 30 March 2015 2.47pm
James Hatts wrote:
It seems to me that the debate over who can/should live in central London needs to be considered alongside the debate about major transport infrastructure projects.
If the people who work in central London continue to be excluded from the possibility of living near the centre, the need for projects like the Bakerloo line extension, Crossrail 2, the Waterloo Station upgrade (etc etc etc) will only become more acute.

And by extension, if people are having to travel vast distances every day, that has environmental implications too.

These topics - housing, transport, environment - can't be considered in isolation.

To be honest James, the people that debate this subject on forums such as this usually do consider those topics, it's the planners that do not.
I and many others were wondering, some time back, what would happen with GP overload in the area. Blimey, if I could see a problem on the horizon, I'm sure the powers that be could.
Monday 30 March 2015 4.05pm
sjac wrote:
It's not "if I say so", it's the reality.

If you say so...

Different people have different realities. Some people are only in a position to deal with these issues from a more emotional point of view, because they are in a situation which is to their disadvantage and which they have very little or no power to extricate themselves from. That is their reality. Another reality is that people who raise these kinds of issues are casually dismissed as hand-wringing bleeding heart lefties. All this leads to either polarising, divisive or totally inert politics and the reality of that is that people get effed over.
Monday 30 March 2015 4.42pm

I never realised so many new housing units were going to be constructed on the site of the Heygate, so 1,200 council properties are demolished and if I understood 2,500 properties are going to be built. So out of uninformed ignorance, how many will be council properties for Londoners where ever they hail from?
Tuesday 31 March 2015 9.32pm
My husband and I went to the launch of the Chroma Buildings tonight on Lancaster Street in the naive hope of being able to buy a 3 bed as have a young family at local nursery, hoping to go to local school and we live and work locally. Starting price of 3 beds £950k.... 3 bed penthouse £1.45 million.... Came away thoroughly depressed. Being sold by Hamptons International interested in overseas cash buyers, not us. We have also contacted Ipsus on Rushworth Street - 2 beds will start at £1million so 3 beds will be crazy priced. Newspaper House an estate agent have estimated will be over £1.3million for 3 beds. Went to the lend Lease office at Elephant, 3 beds ready in 2018, over £1 million, 4 bed townhouses £1.5 million. Hardly any 3 beds come on market that are not new build. No idea how young families like us will be able to stay in SE1...we are going to have to look elsewhere now having loved living here for the last decade.
Wednesday 1 April 2015 8.44am
Well said Louise, I am in the same boat. Will have to move eventually or face a lifetime of high rents to live anywhere in this area.

With the elections looming it is worth saying.. if you vote for any of the 3 main parties - Lib Lab Con - you are merely continuing this state of affairs indefinitely. They are all in hock to big business and don't care a fig for the common person.
Wednesday 1 April 2015 2.12pm
Jan - Despite your coyness, I'm sure you're very aware that 25% of the housing will be designated "affordable" with a very small portion of that at true social rents. That will mean that very few displaced tenants will be able to live in the exact same location that they left, although there is apparently some sort of "right to return" to the E&C area over a certain number of years. Inconvenient? Sure. And will many choose to remain where they've been re-housed to avoid the hassle of moving again? Probably. But I don't expect you'd get too much sympathy from Louise or Johnny who would undoubtedly love to be re-housed in a 3-bed flat nearby at a fraction of market rents.

Part of the problem is that we can't look at every issue in micro scale. If we left everything as it is, private housing costs would continue to climb from the already stratospheric levels that they're currently at (and no further social housing would be built), meaning that the only people who could live in SE1 would be the very rich or the very poor. That can't be right either. The only way for housing prices to Balance out a more affordable level is to BUILD! The regeneration of E&C is fairly high-risk and spread over a long timeframe, but should lead to an increase in value for other nearby Southwark council-owned properties , which should help further development and increased revenues for the council. This all takes me back to my original point from earlier posts. What is the alternative?

(and eDWaRD: yes, of course you're right, but surely some of this emotion could be channeled to press on realistic issues that wouldn't be so readily dismissed?)
Wednesday 1 April 2015 2.18pm
johnnytee wrote:
Well said Louise, I am in the same boat. Will have to move eventually or face a lifetime of high rents to live anywhere in this area.
With the elections looming it is worth saying.. if you vote for any of the 3 main parties - Lib Lab Con - you are merely continuing this state of affairs indefinitely. They are all in hock to big business and don't care a fig for the common person.

Fair comment, but what policies and plans do the non-main 3 parties have in place that prevents them from being in hock to big business? I don't think that voting the Greens for example will result in affordable housing.
Saturday 25 April 2015 7.27pm
A step forward?

"UKIP proposes that local communities have the final say over housing, energy, waste, retail, commercial, mixed-use and all other planning applications on the proviso that 5% of the electorate “call-in” the particular planning application. It could be argued that this is an extension to “Localism” giving real power to the people, and it actually echoes an idea originally considered (and dropped) by the present government. It would place even more importance on the need to consult."
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