Letter on affordable housing - Camden must build more

Sian Berry, 01 March 2015, Tags:

This week I wrote a letter to the Camden New Journal reinforcing Camden Green Party's call for more affordable housing in estate regenerations in Camden.

Sian Berry, Green Party councillor, Highgate

Last week's Camden New Journal came with a four-page wraparound advert for the XY Apartments development at Maiden Lane, which is part of Camden Council's Community Investment Programme (CIP).

The advert celebrated the “breathtaking cityscapes” and “spacious private terraces” of the flats for private sale but failed to mention that less than 50% of the homes will be available at an affordable rate – despite 50% being declared the council's 'trademark' policy for estate redevelopments. And Maiden Lane is not a lone example: affordable housing percentages lower than 50% have also been permitted on other CIP projects, including Abbey Road, Bacton Low Rise and Plender Street.

The point of the CIP is to reinvest earnings from the sale and redevelopment of Camden's public assets for the benefit of residents, but Camden Greens don't believe the council is doing enough with this programme to address the urgent need for housing people can afford, especially if it is missing even its own targets. 

The 50% requirement should also be raised since, while house and land prices continue to rise, the amount of money Camden can raise from private sales on CIP developments is likely to be increasing. There is certainly no excuse to be failing to invest every possible penny back into homes that people on regular or below-average incomes can afford.