Fury as council approves tower block with no social housing

22 Mar 2019
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GMB, Britain’s general union, has slammed the decision of Barking and Dagenham Council to approve the demolition of a tower block and replace it with no social housing. 

The plans to demolish Crown House to build 396 homes, none of which are social housing, were approved at Barking Town Hall earlier this week [Monday].

A plea for a viability study to see if dwellings for homeless people and those in temporary accommodation could be included in the plans was rejected by the Council. 

This is despite Barking and Dagenham saying there are now more than 7,000 households on its housing waiting list, significantly up from 4,587 in 2018.

It's high time for the Council to go back to the drawing board and come back with a plan that works for local people

Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary

Instead of social housing, the council’s regeneration firm Be First has said that of the 396 homes planned they will build 169 ‘new affordable and shared ownership homes for the council’.

A typical two-bedroom flat will be offered at about 56% of market rent or at the London affordable rent of 45% of market rent. 

The average monthly rent of a two-bedroom home in Barking and Dagenham is now £1,188 

Be First’s board is chaired by Lord Robert or ‘Bob’ Kerslake, who is also chair of the board of Peabody Trust, a housing association that has been auctioning off its social housing to the highest bidders. GMB has been involved in a protest against this sell-off

Be First (Regeneration) Ltd is more than 3 months late in filing accounts, and facing the first step to being compulsorily struck off. 

Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary said:

“Barking and Dagenham Council is turning its back on local people with its approval of this shady property scheme. The leader of the Council should be ashamed of himself.


“Thousands of working people in Barking and Dagenham are being left abandoned on housing waiting lists amid spiraling rents and growing demand. The Council’s demolition plan will intensify social cleansing rather than solve the housing crisis so many are facing.

“It’s disgraceful the Council with one of the worst homelessness problems in the country has refused to exercise its powers to consider how this scheme could help homeless people and those in temporary accommodation.

“It's high time for the Council to go back to the drawing board and come back with a plan that works for local people."

Main image via dgeezer on Flickr

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