Published: 3 August, 2012
• I DO not normally have time to waste responding to the type of letter you featured on July 27 (What is the definition of affordable?) but I wish to point out the following for the benefit of your readers.
The Central Street development is not in Clerkenwell ward; it is, in fact, in Bunhill ward.
The main issue that was ignored in the letter is what developers are building and for which market.
For at least 40 years there has been a lack of social housing and, even worse, demand for social housing has been increasing while the amount of housing is reducing. Islington has lost nearly a third of stock.
Shared ownership is being presented as a way out of renting and social housing, but it has all the disadvantages of renting and none of the advantages of ownership.
The problem is the cost and what you do when you want to sell. You are still not really better off as you have all the problems of having to buy out of the scheme.
If you own a flat or house you can just sell and move on to something else.
What I would like to see is something that is more long-term and better set up with councils, developers and the government in a long-reaching national house-building strategy that would deliver social housing targets on a year-on-year basis.
They would also provide loans and support for building and buying houses to tenants in social housing.
This would reduce the costs to first-time buyers and increase the amount of social housing as more tenants would be able to leave the public rented sector.
I want to see the scrapping of the right-to-buy scheme. This was only set up to create Tory voters out of council tenants by making them owner-occupiers and ratepayers. It was, of course, a failure. (It is no surprise that they are trying to rehash it.)
It provided developers with a quick, get-rich sideline and enabled people to cheat councils by claiming to be homeless.
Instead, what it is doing is reducing social housing stock and helping to increase the burden on councils caused by homelessness and overcrowding, which is what is happening in Islington, Camden and Hackney.
What is happening at the moment is a kind of market-led free-for-all where developers are building properties that make the most money not those in most demand.
This pushes prices up while reducing stock and increasing demand from the most needy, the homeless.
CLLR RAPHAEL ANDREWS