Published: 8 June, 2012
by ANDREW JOHNSON
THE Town Hall’s flagship house-building policy is facing fire from all sides this week as angry residents denounce the destruction of a heritage building and oppose flats being squeezed onto estate car parks.
Ruling Labour councillors will decide on two controversial schemes on Tuesday and have already been criticised over their affordable homes policy by scouts, who lost out on a new base as a result, and the Chamber of Commerce, which is concerned that the issue could squeeze businesses out.
Lib Dem opposition leader Councillor Terry Stacy has accused the Labour council of squeezing out middle earners in its drive to build more affordable accommodation.
“There is no doubt there is a housing crisis and Islington needs more housing,” he said. “But not at the expense of every green space, car park and garage. I’m concerned the council is sacrificing them in a house-building frenzy.
“By building houses for those most in need, and allowing the others to be sold privately, there is a danger of squeezing out those in the middle and so further polarising Islington.”
But Labour council leader Catherine West launched a fierce riposte, telling the Tribune in an interview that the acute housing need in Islington justified the policy.