Cllr Catherine West: 'We have 13,000 on a housing waiting list and 3,000 in terribly overcrowded conditions'
Published: 8 June, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
LABOUR Town Hall leader Councillor Catherine West spoke out this week about the desperate housing shortage which means teenagers reaching puberty are having to share tiny bedrooms.
She appealed for support for the council’s ambitious plan for 2,000 new homes by 2014 amid widespread criticism that dogged adherence to the scheme is threatening jobs and open spaces.
The council is accused of “squeezing” homes onto council estates while refusing planning permission for new developments which provide jobs but not enough affordable accommodation.
International art framer John Jones and Islington scouts have fallen out with the council over planned developments criticised for not providing sufficient affordable homes.
Cllr West said: “We have 13,000 on a housing waiting list and 3,000 in terribly overcrowded conditions. I’ve visited families where teenage children reaching puberty sleep in bunk beds built for infants and have to share tiny bedrooms.”
The council has built 50 council homes this year and agreed council funding for another 50 new social homes from housing associations. Last year, 450 socially rented homes were built.
The row over art framers John Jones at Finsbury Park refuses to subside.
Last week, Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ronke Lawal called for a compromise over the £30m development in which 100 jobs are under threat.
The council refused planning permission because the scheme provides student accommodation rather than family homes. A government minister overturned the council’s decision and now an appeal court will make a new ruling.
Cllr West said: “We support the John Jones scheme. We hope there is room for compromise and await the judgment.”
The council plans to build a six-storey block of flats on the car park of the Holly Park estate at Stroud Green, which will mean its community centre will have to be relocated.
Cllr West said: “We want residents to help us design this scheme. There will be an excellent new community centre to replace the old worn out one.”
A planned new scout HQ in Holloway was turned down because it contained one less home than the council wanted.
Cllr West said: “We want to see the scouts move in.
"I understand they are submitting a new scheme. We want to work with them.”