Greenwich Council have this morning announced they are not looking to proceed with selling two out of three plots of public land to Pocket Living for micro flats.
Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has tweeted his support
The right decision. In my view, there is only a case for selling publicly-owned land on which there is no realistic prospect of the Council building its own genuinely affordable public housing for those on low incomes. https://t.co/bAFd1agYvC
— Matthew Pennycook MP (@mtpennycook) January 22, 2019
The scheme faced heavy criticism since it was revealed given an increase in homeslessness in the borough. Figures before Greenwich’s Cabinet next week show a jump in the number of households in temporary accommodation to 909 in Q2 18/19 from 740 in Q1 2018/19.
The number of households accepted as homeless rose to 287 in Q2 18/19 from 123 in Q1.
The flats were also on the borderline of legal minimum size limits at 38 square metres – around half the size of a shipping container. The issue of micro-flats has gained publicity nationwide in recent days.
When a list of options on how to develop land went before Greenwich’s Cabinet, utilising the council’s own developer Meridian Home Start wasn’t among the options listed. They would have provided lower cost homes than Pocket Living’s plan to offer “affordable” at 80% market rate.
The council claimed Meridian did not have the capability to develop the sites.
Since then Pocket Living set up their own website to lobby for the sale. Another issue arose when people opposing the move received emails acknowledging their support.
Of the three original sites earmarked for sale – one at Charlton Heights is still recommended for sale.
The council state this is due to a need to decontaminate the land. Yet why Pocket Living can do so (and still make a profit) and the council cannot has yet to be answered.