Editor’s comment: I’m bracing for impact over housing plan
- Credit: council
I’ve taken a bit of stick recently for supporting unpopular projects in this column.
Building social homes on disused garages (Mandeville Street) and closing residential roads to through traffic (around CS1) are both schemes I agree with in principle but which groups of neighbours have fiercely and comprehensively opposed.
In both cases, campaigners have said they don’t object to the premise of the projects, just the detail. That is their right, and the Gazette will continue to give them a voice.
But the question for me is not whether such projects are perfect, but whether they represent the best options we have in the face of a crisis (housing, air quality).
It’s a subject I again find myself considering in light of our story this week: the Daubeney Fields neighbours opposing the fourth phase of the council’s building project on disused land.
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To their credit, members of Daubeney Fields Forever have come up with a detailed alternative that includes workspaces and a (smaller) number of homes.
And Hackney Council will not solve the housing crisis by chipping away at it a few houses at a time. There are thousands of people on a growing waiting list and the town hall doesn’t have the finances or powers to build enough homes for our borough.
But I can’t agree with the principle of reducing the number of social homes in a development – even if only by a small number. Each one is a family or individual potentially out of unsuitable temporary accommodation (see our Hidden Homeless series) or off the streets.
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Developers benefit enormously from Hackney, and should be made to provide the affordable homes it needs in return. But the council must still do what it can: Hackney’s responsibility is to the neediest people, not the loudest.