Published: 22 June, 2012
• THE council’s intention to build new homes on estates is both sensible and necessary but from recent examples its approach on the ground seems in many cases arbitrary and unhelpfully rigid.
Islingtonians recognise we have a crying need for more affordable, family housing. One of the biggest obstacles to this in a dense inner-city area is the lack of available land.
Unused or under-used council land is an invaluable resource which we need to make the most of, and there are good examples around the borough where the council has managed successfully to use redundant car parks, garages and rooftops to provide precious new homes.
Residents, however, are more likely to be sympathetic to new projects if they can see the proposals are part of a wider picture and that they will receive some benefit from the project, and if they are consulted from the start.
Recent cases, in contrast, appear to be ad hoc in nature, to take away valued community facilities and to be presented as a fait accompli.
The council needs urgently to carry out a comprehensive audit of all its land and estates, to identify all potential sites for new housing. Wherever development looks possible it needs to investigate what community facilities could be included or enhanced as part of the project, and how these could be financed. And more than anything it needs to start by talking and listening to local people.
Islington Green Party