London Tenants Federation blasts ‘pro-demolition agenda’
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
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The London Tenants Federation has blasted the demolition of social homes and says "council estates are simply being cleared to build a lot of extra homes that are unaffordable to those who were originally living there".
More than a third of new social homes built in London were just replacements for others demolished, the LTF said, warning of the dangers of "this pro-demolition agenda".
The federation looked at annual monitoring reports of the London Plan from 2007-13 and said only 50% of the plan’s target for additional social homes was met. Had the demolitions not occurred, 15,272 additional social homes would have been provided. In contrast, over the same period of time, 93% of the London Plan’s target for additional market homes and 83% for intermediate homes were met, the LTF said.
"There is no analysis on why so many social homes are being demolished. Few homes are demolished because they are structurally unsound; most could just be refurbished," the LTF said. "The extra benefit costs incurred in placing households in expensive private accommodation rather than social-rented homes has not been provided."
While the mayor’s London Plan requires boroughs to resist the loss of housing, there is no specific requirement to resist loss of social homes in particular, the LTF noted. There is also no requirement to replace demolished social homes like-for-like.
LTF wants the London Assembly’s housing committee to address these issues this month and next when it looks at issues of demolition and refurbishment.
Pauline Hutchinson, LTF Hammersmith & Fulham representative, said: "It is very difficult to get hold of the statistics on the number of demolitions occurring and even harder to find evidence showing that the homes actually needed to go. There is a complete lack of transparency."
She accused the mayor of playing games with housing numbers.
"Incredibly, Boris Johnson keeps two sets of figures on new homes; one that takes into account how many are replacing others demolished and one that doesn’t. In the media, he refers to the latter. This makes it seem that there is 50% more social homes than is actually the case."