Nicky Gavron on mixed estates

August 31st, 2011

The mayor wants private, market housing to be built in areas with lots of social housing. But his plan does not seek new social housing in areas with lots of private homes.”

An article from the Guardian today highlights yet again where the Tory London administration is failing when it comes to housing policy.  Nicky Gavron has been spot on with her analysis of where the problem lies and has been saying this for some time but nobody seems to be listening.

With little of the usual fanfare, London mayor Boris Johnson recently published his London Plan, a 300-page document that will determine the capital’s growth development for the rest of this decade, and beyond.

The plan links the mayor’s long-term policies in the key areas of housing, transport, economic development and the environment. But where the plan, which I developed with former Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, took London forward, Johnson’s version takes us backwards.

At Progressive London in February last year

“Nicky Gavron had a lot to say about the London Plan which she had worked on with Ken back in the day, but more to say about the dismantling of it going on with the Boris version called the draft London Plan which was abandoning the aims of the Labour version by taking a borough by borough approach and reducing almost to zero those targets for affordable homes in Conservative boroughs while increasing those in Labour ones.  It would seem that under Ken the London plan took a city wide approach to affordable housing.”


February last year

“Mixed and balanced communities are rightly one of the shibboleths of the London Plan. But under Mr Johnson’s this means ‘a mix of tenure should be sought, particularly in neighbourhoods where social renting predominates’. Where, one might ask, are displaced residents to go? Crucially, there is no reciprocal policy for social rented housing to be introduced into areas where private housing predominates.”


From The Occupation by Benedict Seymour – Peter Sutton, Hackney based community activist

“It’s always interesting the way, it’s always mixed tenure in our areas, it’s never mixed tenure in their areas so why don’t we take a street in Hampstead and open that up to council tenants from Camden to move into their estate because if it’s good for us to mix then surely it would be good for them as well. ”

Follow up . . .

Of course government policy would see this as a move in the right direction towards a social and tenure mix and a more balanced community. It probably does not feel like this if you are on the waiting list – mixed communities don’t seem to work in the opposite direction, as the recent nasty little episode about ‘million pound Council houses’ illustrated.

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