From The Murky Depths

Housing and Development in London

Bexley borough

Bexley politician shows how not to address the housing crises

359 homes approved in Crayford with zero affordable housing

You may have noticed that this site tends not to cover Bexley Borough as much as those further west. There’s fantastic sites in the borough already covering news and events such as Bexley is Bonkers and Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich.

However this week some statements have been made by one of Bexley’s Councillors that were quite eye-opening. I’d never heard much of John Davey (Conservative – Crayford) until very recently. I’m sure Bexley is Bonkers had featured him before but that’s about it.

However he’s been making some statements on housing which are likely to go down like a lead balloon.

In response to questions on housing numbers, he claimed:

As a major issue, many would expect councillors to have at least a general knowledge. Could it be because the numbers are very poor?

A 359 home development in his ward was recently approved with zero affordable housing, let alone any social housing.

His last line here is a corker:

I have sympathy for politicians on Twitter. They can be bombarded. For many it would make more sense to write up a post every week or two on a website detailing what they are doing and how to contact them. But very few do.

It’s telling though how some good politicians rarely get any criticism as they do answer questions – even if it’s just to be honest and say “I don’t know” or that they’ll look into the issue without being dismissive or defensive.

On a wider level, many ignore questions or write statements that are flat out wrong and then become very touchy when it’s remarked upon.

When it was highlighted that this wasnt a great look (in an advisory way as much as anything) he immediately did what some councillors do and claim any questioning must mean that you’re a political opponent.

We’ve seen it from some Labour councillors in Greenwich. It’s a shame some live in a polarised world where questions, or sometimes mere comments, must mean the questioner is at the other end of the political spectrum and an enemy. A sad state of affairs.

As anyone who reads this site knows, issues with Labour in Greenwich borough are often highlighted. Any group in power should be held to account and issues raised – Labour or Tory.

Wider impacts of housing

The shortage of truly affordable housing and its effects do not only impact upon a small minority.

A lack of truly affordable homes has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of family homes, often in Conservative areas, being converted to Homes of Multiple Occupation due to the housing shortage.

This is also leading to a shortage of owner-occupied homes for families to move to with is damaging the Tories.

This process also often causing issues and friction with neighbours due to turnover of residents. Community bonds are broken with highly transient residents.

Those in secure rented accommodation or owner-occupiers are also now discovering housing issues mean children staying in the family home longer and longer due to high costs.

The statements made by Cllr John Davey seem a bit tin ear to say the least given these issues, which affect his ward of Crayford, and that this issue is increasingly hurting the Conservatives on a wider level.

Many pollsters claim last years surprise election result of a hung parliament was in large part due to a big growth in younger voters, many of whom are frustrated at very expensive housing.

These same issues now threaten Conservative vote share at this years election according to some Conservatives.

With a small 200 seat majority John Davey seems to be playing a risky game in appearing not to be dismissive on an issue of ever increasing importance.

EDIT: He is moving from standing as a Crayford councillor to West Heath which covers areas of Bexleyheath, where there was a larger Conservative majority at the last election.

But even solid owner-occupier parts of suburbia like Bexleyheath are increasingly seeing buy-to-let landlords and HMOs move in to the frustration of many. The impacts of little new truly affordable housing are reaching ever further.

There’s an ever increasing number of pissed off people when it comes to housing. Many politicians on all sides are still way too slow to realise this. Those that do will gain the electoral rewards.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Jon

    He should have just referred her to the FOI team.

    • Bexley’s FOI Team has taken to not answering questions to which the answers will be embarrassing. They are simply stonewalling me on a really simple question. No response of any kind, I have had to refer them to the Information Commissioner.

  2. Councillor Davey is the reason Bexley-is-Bonkers exists. He refused to answer my questions in 2009, and Bonkers was the result. He even suggested the name!
    In 2018 he will stand in a more solidly Tory seat, West Heath. He moves at every election having left a trail of unhappy voters.

    • Tony

      Didn’t here stand here before. He lives in the area, I have seen him walk past my house before. This is a highly owner occupier are and a lot of retired and elderly people who might be inclined to vote Conservative. Hopefully this year we will see a strong Labour push. To be honest Labour have never tried hard in this area.

    • Tony

      Sorry, should have been “Didn’t he stand here before…..”

  3. fromthemurkydepths

    Ah yes I’ve seen he is moving from standing in Crayford to stand in West Heath, which appears to be a bit leafier and covers Bexleyheath and surrounding areas. Details here http://jcd1.org.uk/westheathward/

    Why is he no longer representing Crayford I wonder?

  4. Davey would tell you that the reason is that he lives in the new ward. His address was in Lesnes Abbey until the 2014 election (still is) but with little chance of a Tory win he ran away to Crayford. West Heath looks like a safe refuge. Obviously insufficient people are reading Depths and Bonkers!

  5. fromthemurkydepths

    It probably is a safe refuge in the short term, though even in places like that I am hearing about and being contacted by people complaining of HMOs springing up.

    The impact of a lack of housing, especially affordable housing, is making inroads into all areas including true blue Tory locations in London and other cities . Until the Tories realise this they are in big dangers of losing seats in urban areas, as this shows:

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-may-could-lose-half-of-london-councils-in-spring-elections-reveals-tory-election-expert-a3729901.html

    Though it is in the Standard and Osborne has an axe to grind, it matches other analysis.

    It still seems some think social housing is for people at the bottom and not a concern until the house next door is bought by a landlord and converted, and that’s happening everywhere.

  6. N Dog

    Still better than pennycock though.

  7. Rob

    He’s leaving Crayford?! Hooray? Maybe something may actually get done around here 😀

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