Editor’s comment: Objections to new homes have no place

An artist's impression of the proposed development at Mandeville Street. Picture: Hackney Council

An artist's impression of the proposed development at Mandeville Street. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: council

I’m not sure how much use a larger playground will be to anyone at Mandeville Primary School if they can’t afford homes when they grow up.

I’m sorry if this sounds blunt, but I can hardly believe so many people objected to the building of 11 new homes in a borough groaning under the weight of a 13,000 waiting list.

A 45 per cent hit rate for social homes in a new development is pretty good when you consider the other 55pc will also be classed as “genuinely affordable” under Sadiq Khan’s amended definition (still flawed, but better than the ludicrous “80pc of market rates” that it supersedes).

Whether shared ownership is an appropriate solution to the housing crisis remains to be seen, but the majority of the objections were not on that basis.

Yes, a loss of light and a temporary reduction in playground space (and I accept that children are by definition only at primary school temporarily) are bad things, but look at the bigger picture. There is a housing crisis. The council’s priority should be chipping away at that enormous housing waiting list, and with this development – however small – it is doing that.

On our front page two weeks ago we ran the story of a family stranded in a hostel room since May, and set to be there until March – despite the fact they were expecting their second child, due this month. And it’s a year since we attempted through our Hidden Homeless campaign to shed light on the scale of the temporary accommodation scandal in this borough, which has devastating human consequences.

Hackney desperately needs the tools to build more council housing; objecting to the little it is able to put up now just seems short-sighted. If we can’t agree on where to build five council houses, where are we going to put the other 13,000 we need?

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