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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The always excellent Aditya Chakrabortty has written a disturbing piece for tomorrow's Guardian about Haringey's plans to "gentrify" areas of the borough and privatise school buildings etc. I don't remember Labour mentioning any of this last time there were local elections. It's a deeply worrying read...


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" and driving as much affordable housing out of these sites as we possibly can. "

Freudian slip or just honest ?

Just very sloppy writing, John.

Though to be fair, Aditya Chakrabortty's excellent article has caused a storm.  Now many more people around the planet will find out about Claire Kober's dodgy "Vehicle". So she has to work much harder, rushing around to persuade everyone about the developers' golden coach.
It's beginning to sound unroadworthy before it even arrives from the fairy god-partners.

"It will demolish precious social housing, turf out families and rip apart communities."  What is so precious about social housing?  It runs counter to capitalism(*), it is given over to to people who have no pride in self achievement so they just litter their space, let their dogs foul and don't clean up or take care of their environs, associate with shady and drug dealer people, abuse, and expect someone else to take care of things for them. I would say having "socialist housing" (let's call it what it really is as it's accommodation that does not respect market forces is more responsible for "ripping apart communities" as it introduces people of the foregoing natures into communities.

Who is this writer at the Guardian? (Rhetorical question: Basically he is any political writer at the Guardian actually.) A bunch of words but he has no idea what he is talking about because it's obvious that like Obama, he has never made payroll and wouldn't know how to run an ice lolly stand. He only gets around to a semblance of an argument when he attempts to show how the council's proposals have not worked elsewhere. He doesn't do a convincing job there either but at least that's a fair basis of criticism.

If I were in control of these dis-used or underused propertie,s while I get the rationale of the JV, I would focus on ensuring income stream and upside, as well as covenants requiring start and completion dates to avoid buyers from getting the property and then not doing anything with it. It is very easy to attach conditions and get a valuation eg., every X years upon which a royalty can be based so the council has upside rather than a one time payment. At the same time the council gets expertise of people who actually know how to develop property rather than the usual level of government intellect, which I don't need to elaborate upon.

(*) - I don't mind things like the enhanced stamp duty or other initiatives to stop real estate from being concentrated into ownership by professional landlords, but all real estate should be sold and rented at market value.

A few points Knavel
- I lived in social housing from the age of 4 when my parent were lucky enough to move from the single room they shared with me and my sister. This was in the north east of England where large swathes of the town I grew up in were still rubble filled bomb sites following the Second World War and having somewhere to lay down your head was hard to come by. The estate we moved on to was a real community and still is, almost 60 years after it was built. It was home to those mainly employed in low paid but essential work like coal mining and ship building. Many industrial cities (and London, particular east London) were in precisely the same situation. Housing simply did not exist and the private sector were not interested in providing it on the scale and at the price that was required.
- I managed social housing here in London for a number of years and my experience of the people who lived there did not match the view you have of them. On the day I started the job my then manager said that I would be mainly managing about 1% of these homes because about 1 in 100 tenants had problems I might have to help them with or caused problems I needed to deal with. And she was right. But walk down any street on The Ladder (which is almost overwhlemingly owner occupied or privately rented) and the 1 in 100 calculation holds true.
- The provision of social housing in the U.K. was originally the exclusive domain of wealthy philanthropists (not that many socialists there) and you can still see places such as Guinness Trust estates. The post war Labour government introduced a social house building programme on a scale that is still unprecedented as the needs of the population of the country were desperate. Social housing is in every city in this country and in every borough of every political hue. It is there because the need is real and there is no interest from the private sector in meeting it.

"The always excellent Aditya Chakrabortty" *cough*.

A bad cough, John? Sorry to hear it. Hope you get better soon.

He did a one sided hatchet job on Woodberry Down in 2014 so I'm sceptical of this too. Some questions for you:

1. What can be done to both improve the housing and avoid it eventually slipping into the hands of the dodgier end of the buy-to-let market via 2nd generation right-to-buy? There are "landlords" in Tottenham living off their tenants in ex local authority flats that cannot afford to maintain them properly.

2. What's the rush? Why can't they do this an estate at a time? The people and means to build new housing do not just materialise like the money does. It seems like laziness and "what the developer would want".

3. The Islams could buy another flat in Tottenham, it would just have to be an ex-local authority flat and not one of the new ones that will be built (as they'll be too expensive). Why are they given up as an example of what is wrong with this and not the thousands of people who will be privately renting there with no social housing tenancy rights (tenure) and a significant proportion of their income going to the investors who bought the flats off plan? Who speaks for the young people renting these flats?

4. Tottenham is short of disposable income, or rather its residents are. What is fairer, giving these people more money or making them share some of the valuable London space they occupy with some new residents?

5. Will Londoners be offered the opportunity to buy these new flats before Chinese investors? That's not what happened at Woodberry Down.

6. As I understand it, existing tenants would get new flats and the same tenancy terms. Would this include the right to pass their tenancy on to one of their children or is that the thing that's changed?

The thing that stinks about this to me is the lack of democracy and the close relationships between the developers via their PR firm and the councillors. I'm convinced that if this is done openly and without boozy lunches, it can be done to the benefit of more than just the developers and the council leader.



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