Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Destructive property speculators

We have a chronic housing shortage, of affordable homes in the borough. More than 17,000 people are on the housing register, hundreds are severely over-crowded, 40 families are in unsuitable B&B accommodation, 350 families are in hostel accommodation and 2500 households are in temporary accommodation. Only 1300 properties become available each year for social letting. This government, despite some recent suggestions that it might relax the rules, still does not allow local authorities to build desperately needed council housing. Less than 350 housing association homes are built each year. This means that people will be waiting years for a social housing property and in reality most will never be housed. I recently learned of one couple so desperate for a home that they have moved into the garden of their Mothers property and are living in a tent!!! Yet strangely we have more than 200 long term, mainly private properties empty properties blighting the borough. Three such properties are in Tyson Road. For over a decade a private property speculator has been repeatedly submitting overly dense plans, to demolish these x3 properties, to allow access to also an acre of land and cram in as many flats as possible in 7 Hugh blocks -potentially slums of the future but likely to be very expensive boxes -with little amenity space. The proposals would destroy an important natural habitat and 'green lung' in the heart of Forest Hill. I understand that despite the plans being repeatedly turned down the developer has not taken on board any of the advice from planners and is going to appeal. The lure of massive profits, often extracted from young people desperate for their first home, even in the current down turn of the housing market has not put them off.

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