To see how a housing estate in Crouch End has been transformed into high quality new homes, Lynne Featherstone MP last week visited Saxon Chase on Dickenson Road.
The original homes were purchased by housing association L&Q in 1987 and leased to Haringey Council to provide accommodation for their residents. With the end of the lease approaching and the homes nearing the end of their lifespan, the decision was made to seek planning approval to redevelop the site.
The new plans, which were completed towards the end of 2009, offer a mix of high quality homes for people on a range of incomes. This includes homes for outright sale, shared ownership and rent. Residents have benefited from improvements in building and design standards, energy efficiency, security and landscaping following previous issues with anti social behaviour, fly tipping and squatting.
A key theme of the development was the level of consultation between L&Q and the returning residents. A steering group of returning residents was involved from the outset and was given the chance to have input on fundamental design decisions. Even the name of the scheme was chosen by residents to reflect the area’s historical links with Saxon activity.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“Housing is one of the biggest issues that local people raise with me, anything from the state of social housing and antisocial behaviour to having waited years for housing.
“That’s why it’s especially heart-warming to see this shining new example of what can be done with good design and by having local residents on board.
“I have spoken to many Saxon Close residents here today, and they are all proud of their new homes; they care about them and look after them. And who wouldn’t? These flats are amazing. Really inspiring stuff!”
L&Q Chief Executive David Montague described the development as:
“A perfect example of the benefits of partnership working. By using a collaborative approach with Haringey Council, our contractor and the Returning Residents Group, we have been able to successfully deliver high quality homes that fully meet the needs of the residents. It was great to be able to discuss this with Ms Featherstone today and how housing associations can play a big part in delivering more much needed affordable homes in the future.”
In other words: we had a lot of homes for rent to people on low incomes. Soon we will have less homes for rent for people on low incomes and the rents will be higher. Some of the public property will be sold off to people who are well off. Our Lib Dem MP thinks this is “inspiring”. Sort of sums up the decline phase of the decline and fall of Lynne Featherstone’s career.
I wonder will there ever be an issue which is just too much for her and where even her powers of sophistry don’t allow her to describe a further lurch to inequality as good news. Or whether she will be thrown out of parliament while still a minister? Still, I guess there is the House of Lords, assuming her new best friends in the Tory Party still need their little yellow helpers and also assuming (of which I am sure) that Nick Clegg’s promise of an elected second chamber is about as binding as his pledge to vote against any rise in tuition fees.
We are all for Housing Associations renovating older properties. However the supply of social housing is now effectively privatised. 50% of these will be over priced for private sale. The remainder will be split between affordable housing which means shared ownership on over priced 1 and 2 bedroom flats and a few for social housing rents. HA and landlords can now charge up to 80% of market rents (already expensive in London). How many on the housing waiting list will get one of these properties ? How inspiring is this, the current model for social housing is fundamentally flawed and benefits an already mega cash rich HA part public funded as a registered social landlord with charitable status.
(check the number and salaries on their board of directors) and a few local politicians who just say (“How else do we get houses built?”)