UPDATE: Oct 2016 Property Week award boycotted by angry student judges

“Unless all students have access to safe, affordable accommodation at every institution and the means to pay for it, there is no cause for celebration, nor the ability for us to award a for-profit sector failing so many of our peers.”


UPDATE: July 2016 I received another email recently, again from Aspen Woolf, only this time I decided to pursue it. Feigning interest in Kingfisher Court I booked a call which occurred the following morning. I was very honest with the bloke, told him I write a housing blog, told him I had heard there is “no exit” (see comment end of page) and what did he have to say?

In short order he told me the product is “more suitable for people over 60 as an investment”. “Not suitable for people with a mortgage”. “A long term investment”.

When asked directly if there is an exit he told me “Yes of course, but they are harder to sell and there’s a £3000 out fee”.

So essentially the guy who wrote the comment at the end of this post was right. There’s an exit in theory but you’re not encouraged to use it and if you try it’s going to be more difficult than selling a house because you have to wait for somebody in a smaller pool of investors in student accommodation to buy you out.

Avoid like the plague would be my advice.


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Cameron on housing

October 6th, 2011

Here are a few links I gathered together last year on Cameron’s attitude to housing.  I’m loath to delete them so here they are (again) as a reference point of 2010 in politics and the Tory approach to those in need of a roof over their heads. It seems quite apt to post them again given that the Tory conference 2011 has just finished and the only thing we’ve heard is the utter stupidity of widen right to buy.

Johann Hari: Welcome to Cameron land [5th May 2010] (yes I know, but it’s still a good article)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/poverty-and-injustice-in-david-cameronrsquos-model-borough-1962318.html

David Cameron announces plan to end lifetime council tenancies [3rd August 2010]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/03/lifetime-council-tenancies-contracts-cameron

London housing crisis: the roots of David Cameron’s council tenancy debate [5th August 2010]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/davehillblog/2010/aug/05/david-cameron-london-boroughs-council-tenants

Any Questions discussion about the Cameron comments [6th August 2010]

BBC Any Questions clip on council housing – YouTube

Any Answers  discussion about the Cameron comments [7th August 2010]

BBC Any Answers clip on council housing – YouTube

David Cameron’s council housing plans opposed by majority of Lib Dem MPs [8th August 2010]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/08/david-cameron-council-housing-plans-opposed

A Golden age

October 2nd, 2011

That brief period between 1917 and 1979, when British wealth, trembling in fear of revolution, ceded some power, opportunity and money to the working classes is over. There is now no politics to express or admit the enormity of what has happened since the 1980s – how wealth and human respect drained from the bottom to enrich and glorify the top.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/31/chav-vile-word-fractured-britain

Hackney Archive – check for CEI

September 21st, 2011

Dear Mr *******

Thank you for your enquiry. We do have some printed material on the
Comprehensive Estates Initiative, such as a 1999 pamphlet entitled
‘Holly street estate: blueprint for success’ and ‘Comprehensive estates
initiative: progress report 1995’; we also possess a video on the CEI.
However, this material will be inaccessible until we complete our move.
We anticipate opening at our new premises in Dalston later in the year.
A date for reopening has not yet been set, but when one is it will be
advertised on our website, which would be the best place to gain
information.

Best wishes

Ed Lyon
Archive Assistant

Hackney Archives Department
43 De Beauvoir Road
London N1 5SQ
http://www.hackney.gov.uk/ca-archives.htm

Post Modernism

June 4th, 2011

Post Modernism – the gratuitous use of stuck on detailing such as plastic pediments, columns, pilasters and coloured window frames leading to a cheap and tacky appearance that quickly dates.

06_07098_FULL-DESIGN___ACCESS_STATEMENT-1131238.pdf

06_07098_FULL-ACOUSTICS_REPORT-1131223.pdf

06_07098_FULL-S106_LEGAL_AGREEMENT-1546259.pdf

06_07098_FULL-SUPPORTING_DETAILED_PLANNING_STATEMENT_-_BUILDINGS_A__B___C_-_COMMUNITY_CONSULT-1130432.pdf

04_07636/S106

06_07098/S106

Go to http://idoxpa.westminster.gov.uk/online-applications/ and enter the planning ref 06/07098/FULL for remaining documents.


I recommend you download the D&A at the top link above. The document is a masterpiece of marketing doublespeak and obfuscation turning night into day and black into white.

The two major points of interest are:-

1) the reduction in apartment size from the consented scheme leading to visible columns in the living rooms and bedrooms of Woods House pages 6, 7 and 8.

2) the reduction in ceiling heights in Woods House as compared with Bramah next door owing to the developer inserting an additional floor without increasing the permitted building height and taking the loss off all the existing floors by reducing their ceiling heights. See page 11.

Sir Parker Morris

September 23rd, 2009

Sir Parker Morris (1891-1972)

Set the standards for housing design Although Sir Parker Morris’ seminal government report, Homes for Today & Tomorrow, was published in 1961 it was only by the end of the decade that the impact of its generous space standards for housing was felt.

The so-called Parker Morris standards only became mandatory for housing in new towns in 1967 and it was another two years until it was compulsory for all council homes. Morris, who had been a town clerk for Westminster council, argued that people needed to be guaranteed better quality homes to match the improvement in living standards.

Among his conclusions was that there should be at least one toilet in dwellings with up to three bedrooms and that there should be heating systems for kitchens.

As a result, slum housing that failed to meet the standards was demolished. Unfortunately, in a government measure to lower public spending, the standards stopped being mandatory in 1980, and little of the public housing built in the quarter of a century since meets all of Morris’ aspirations.

Jon Rouse, chief executive of the Housing Corporation, says: “It is a remarkable testament that despite the passage of 40 years, the space standards conceived by Parker Morris are still regarded widely within the affordable housing sector as a benchmark to be strived for. Parker Morris was perhaps the first to sow the seeds of what we now call sustainable housing.

In his own words: “This approach … starts with a clear recognition of these various activities and their relative importance in social, family and individual lives, and goes on to assess the conditions necessary for their pursuit in terms of space, atmosphere, efficiency, comfort, furniture and equipment.”

From Homes for Today & Tomorrow. Three key dates: 1960 Co-founded housing development agency, the Housing Association Charitable Trust 1961 Publication of Homes for Today & Tomorrow 1969 Parker Morris standards made compulsory for all council housing.

The 1961 report that made Sir Parker Morris’ name synonymous with improved housing standards