I attended the election hustings yesterday in Southwark Cathedral. However I’m still unclear about the Labour candidate, Neil Coyle’s, position on housing in relation to the ‘regeneration’ of Heygate and Aylesebury Estates. I did write to him last year and to be fair he replied - but with a rather vague statement about the Council’s 11000 homes policy rather than directly about these two schemes (recently steered of course under a Labour local council). I have written again but have not received any answer.
I wanted to ask a question yesterday but we were warded off housing after the Cathedral Dean had an opening salvo on this crucial topic. Is Neil Coyle on record anywhere about his opinion on these two schemes? Rather than general statements about ‘affordable’ housing, has he actually commented for instance on the dramatic loss of social housing or co-option of the council by property interests? I assume he must espouse someone such as Peter John’s position but it would make potentially voting for him much easier if he did show at least some acknowledgement of the mistakes made and problems caused for previous residents in pushing through these two so-called regeneration projects.
The Labour party show no regret for past mistakes. When I saw Cllr Gavin Edwards yesterday, he was unrepentant and when I put it to him that Peter John had betrayed residents of Southwark with his cosiness and deals with Berkeley Homes, he had the cheek to say that Peter was getting the best deal for Southwark residents! Coyle won't be getting my vote!
James' point noted, that still doesn't deal with Coyle's position as both a prospective parliamentary candidate and as a member of the Southwark Council administration. The Labour-run council has an abysmal track record when it comes to housing for normal people.
Peter John has taken it to new depths though. He has been wined and dined on over 70 occasions by property developers and the like. Let's not forget the free Olympic tickets either! He leads a very active social life as a result of the privileged position he occupies, this to the detriment of Southwark residents. The tongue-in-cheek comment/rudeness exhibited by Cllr Edwards on Saturday demonstrates the contempt with which the Labour administration holds ordinary folk. Cllr/PPC Coyle is complicit in this.
It's also worth noting that Cllr/PPC Coyle's attendance at council meetings/business has declined as a result of his prolific campaigning. Why did he stand in the council elections when he had already pinned his colours to the mast vis-à-vis the General Election?
Just thought I'd inject some facts into this thread which caught my eye -
1,141 affordable homes were built across the borough last year according to the GLA, including 400 new homes at social rent. Overall 23% of the new affordable homes were large family homes with 3 or more bedrooms.
In total, more than 3,600 new affordable homes have been built in Southwark since 2010. The Labour council has exceeded its own target of getting 2,000 new homes built in the borough every year, with 35% of those being affordable to households on lower incomes. Since 2010 Southwark has consistently had one of the highest levels of affordable house building in London.
We are adding to this with our delivery of 1500 new council homes at social rents by 2018 - the first of which will be let at Willow Walk in the next few weeks.
So if "new depths" means actually building homes that people in the borough want I guess I'm way down there!
(i) Over seventy occasions when you've been wined and dined at the expense of fat-cat developers, including your infamous visit to the Olympics. It was in this respect that I made the comment as regards you plunging to new depths.
(ii) Corrupt housing department on your watch, criticised in a damning High Court judgment.
(iii) 35%? What happened at the new development at the Elephant where there is a big fat zero by way of affordable housing?
(iv) A new - and fit-for-purpose kitchen and bathroom for every council tenant. Empty promise.
(i) I declare all gifts and hospitalities which I a required to do in order to ensure transparency - a good thing. Obviously the 100's of other meetings which I have every year with tenants, residents, interest groups and others also promoting the work of the council and the borough don't get declared. But I can assure you that my sole interest is in getting the best for the people of the borough in getting the homes and the jobs and the opportunities we need. The way to solve a housing crisis in the real world is to build more homes. I always think it's a little ironic that we get criticised when we are a borough which is doing just that. It would be an easier life for us to do nothing - but that helps absolutely no one.
(ii) Not sure what you're referring to here (the AA case I'm guessing) - although again I am working hard to improve all of our services and departments even in the face of massive cuts from central government.
(iii) At least 25% affordable housing is being delivered across the Elephant - with 1750 affordable homes being delivered across the opportunity area. You might say "not enough" and I would agree - but it was important to get progress in 2010 on this project and that was the best we could negotiate at that time. It would have been much less if we had left it to the usual planning viability process. There is no affordable housing attached to One The Elephant but we are accepting payments which we hope will ultimately pay for the Castle Leisure Centre - another priority for the community in 2010.
(iv) New kitchens and bathrooms - this was always due to begin from 2016 onwards after we had completed Warm, Dry & Safe works. Actually we have brought the programme forward into 2015 so that some people will see the works this year. So far from an empty promise.