For several months, this Decent Homes standards thing that councils and Housing Associations and Trusts have to adhere to, is resulting in homes that should be given to those on the housing lists being auctioned off at ridiculous prices to other landlords and property developers and then being let out at market rates. When a flat becomes empty through someone dying or moving on, then this is what is happening on estates not marked as "core" states, as mentioned by the Peabody. This is not just affecting trusts like the Peabody, but if you read in the local papers, it is affecting Church owned properties in the area, too. One of Prescott's comments way back was to get a different "blend" of people living in SE1. This is not fantasy, it is fact. I have been to meetings organised by the TA of Southwark Street Peabody (not where I live) , I have seen the posters up and around about the Church Housing, I see how the Peabody Trust has closed down it's estate offices (a mixture of this Decent Homes thing and mismanagement of the financials). Every bit of land and every building on any bit of land in SE1 is being sold off and every single one is being turned into a tower block - not affordable housing or those in need and with no thought for the infrastructure being able to cope. We've had problems with electricity power/surges; water pressure; yet more places are being built - no more schools on the horizon, no more power stations or reservoirs. It seems clear to me that the blend of people required are those who can afford to pay extortionate rents and swan off to their suburbian 1st homes at weekends, without children and also without thought for those of us who are actually part of the silent majority who work and pay taxes and who live in these Trust or Council properties. Something stinks in my view and I can see it as plain as the light of day. Is there anything we can do? Are there any of you out there in SE1 who see things the same way? It is certainly scaring me and I would love to be able to do something! Does anyone have any ideas?
Whilst not seeing things in exactly the same way, I do have a lot of the same worries. 'Decent Homes' in combination with central government not giving councils the money to implement it, is certainly a back-door way of divesting the public sector of the expensive obligation of its decrepit housing stock, thus making it easier for the goverment to lower public sector borrowing. (Please note that I have come to this view through involvement in this field, rather than because of any political views I have - I dont have any political allegiances)
What individuals can do about it is a difficult question. What individuals can do about it who want to have a life and not spend all their time and energy in campaigning and lobbying is an even more difficult question.
As far as the frantic race to develop SE1 as densely as possible is concerned, you have missed, for the next few years, your chance to be involved in comments on the Southwark Plan which will have some influence over this in the next decade, and the Mayor's London Plan which will have even more.
As "someone out there who sees it the same way",yennig, I have, in this Forum, voiced my concerns over and over again. The whole borough is being concreted over and mostly to fill the pockets of the developers who take the money and run...leaving behind a rather shoddily built stock of overpriced houses with a built in "wow" factor to blind the unsuspecting purchaser. We at Metro Central Heights know all about this. The block was converted in 1997, sold aggressively to the Hong Kong Chinese with glossy brochures which were "creative" with the facts to say the least. The conversion was talked up to the skies. For the last two or three years all the flaws are starting to show. Cheap boilers which are now packing up, leaking all over the place and causing huge damage and expense. Horrible storage heaters which everyone is having to rip out. OUtrageous service charges. And on top of it, the ceaseless fight to stop the developer building over the only green space in the complex by putting up and even higher tower on it. Despite the new laws about the percentage of "affordable housing" everyone knows this is easily circumvented by sleazy back room dealings and by unscrupulous "block buying". What's to be done? Make your views known. GO TO THE PRESS. Get the DPM out to grass. Go to your MP and your coucillor and join all of us in the Forum who are as depressed as you are!
Right - where do I start? Can I do this alone, or do I need to get some people behind me, or join a group/groups who already have all the knowledge? I fought one development virtually alone and won, which took over two years and was exhausting! I don't mind doing something alone, but fear I don't have as much knowledge on this as you do. I am trying to get a new TA started where we are as we have over 200 tenants - I've put up my notices and if there is enough interest, I will take it forward. Would it be good to do it via this body if it sets up successfully?