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There is need for a broader housing debate

26 June, 2020

• THE claim that the proposed Dixon Clark Court housing scheme will deliver 27 new homes for social rent is misleading, (Speak up for the council’s home-building, June 19).

The development will deliver a net increase of 25 social homes, not 27. Two existing two-bedroom flats in the current block are to be repurposed as “refuse stores” (planning officer report P2017/2936/FUL).

It’s unfortunate that neither the council’s new-build team nor the official minute of the planning committee meeting make this clear.

So it’s to be hoped that Linzi Roberts-Egan, Islington’s CEO, and her departmental director colleague, will authorise an amendment to the document to reflect the accurate situation.

It’s claimed that campaigners aiming to save seven mature trees at Dixon Clark Court are pitting the environment against Islington’s need for social housing. As with most binaries, this is false.

The tree campaigners have suggested an alteration of design which would save the trees and the 41 new-build homes. While this wouldn’t be easy to implement, it hopefully gives the lie to the impression that one thing is being favoured over another.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward has understandably pointed out that such a proposal should have been made during the consultation on the development; but it must be stressed that the consultation coincided with the major Highbury Corner roundabout changes on which local residents were understandably focusing their energies.

Some believe this distraction is how the scheme gained planning permission. More opposition could have paused the decision. Also absent from the public discussion of new-build council homes is the right to buy.

Anyone who’s been a public-sector tenant for a minimum of three years can apply to purchase their home, which means that council homes won’t necessarily remain social housing for long.

That’s not an argument against the building of social-rent homes but a pointer to the need for a broader housing debate.

Ellington Street, N7


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