IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Social rent homes must be safeguarded when new flats are built

28 September, 2018

Campaigners calling on the charity to reverse its decision to evict tenants

• NO one can doubt the need for vastly more homes in London, but I also note that educational charity Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation has cast some of its tenants adrift, claiming the need to empty flats so that an extra storey and more homes can be built in Friend Street and St John Street, (Clerkenwell renters take their protest to their landlords, September 21).

There is a lot of reported outrage about the charity, much of it justified. Yes, this is a situation where the charity is acting legally, if rather unhelpfully, but it does nothing to reassure tenants of St Mary’s Path estate, where Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association wants to do exactly the same thing – raise the height of buildings to provide more homes, necessitating the emptying of some flats.

It is now too late to force Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation to do the right thing by its tenants, though the publicity might affect other landlords and make them more considerate.

Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association has not yet applied for planning permission for its proposed work. Islington Council planning committee should not allow itself to be seduced by blanket promises of “more” homes without consideration of the details.

We must, in the first place, expect it to insist that there is no reduction in the number of homes to be let at a social rent, especially to those with previously “assured” tenancies, and that there must be a reasonable number of new homes also let at social rents.

Second, it should not be beyond the wit of the council, with its overwhelming majority supposedly “for the many”, to make the proper treatment of relocated tenants a condition of planning consent.

MIKE CROWSON
Islington Green Party

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