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Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe links Rose Garden sale to homelessness

Courtesy Google. Rose Garden

At a council meeting last night Greenwich councillors including the council leader Danny Thorpe attempted to link the problem of rising homelessness to attempts to sell an area of public land and greenery to a private developer in east Greenwich.

One problem is that the land was not in line for development by the council for social housing nor via its developer Meridian Homes at 60 per cent market rate – but in line to be sold to a private developer to build at 80 per cent market rate using the very highest level of “affordable housing” introduced by the Conservative Government and previously opposed by Greenwich Labour councillors.

Written reply in last nights meeting with outdated figure – temp housing numbers now up to near 1,400

Developer Pocket Living would have gained a near 20 per cent profit margin from public land as they will at another plot of public land recently sold in Charlton. That decision did not include all available options for building homes including one which would have provided cheaper housing for residents when it was presented to Greenwich Council’s cabinet.

Using Greenwich Council developer Meridian notable by its absence on list of options for land at previous land sales

For now the Greenwich land sale is off, but this attempt to link the two issues leaves a nasty taste. The ever rising problem of homelessness is huge and rising, but to suggest the land sale would have impacted upon it is simply wrong at the price level Pocket Living charge.

Land sale

Leader Danny Thorpe also attempted to defend the somewhat secretive method the sale was revealed in the paper copy of the Weekender (which hasn’t updated its website in over a year) without the ability to email objections by stating “it is imperative that no correspondence is lost in electronic transmission which can occur with spam & content filters”. Presumably no mail is ever lost in the post.

Though he did then state: “The Council will also take into account comments that are submitted by email.” which wasn’t clear on the notice of disposal.

From last nights meeting

Greenwich have a history with Pocket Living – which is supported by Mayor Sadiq Khan – and other land sales to the group are possible in future.

The former MP for Woolwich and Greenwich Nick Raynsford sits on the Pocket Living board.

The current MP Matt Pennycook objected to the land sale.

Cllr Danny Thorpe wasn’t the only one to link those in temporary accommodation with planned sale, as another question from the public on the land sale saw Cllr Sizwe James (Cabinet Member for Environment, Sustainability and Transport) again raise the issue in this answer:

If further land sales do occur, don’t expect it to make a single dent in the ever growing list of homeless people and families in need across the borough. Pocket Living build flats that scrape through minimum space standards and described £90,000 as a “modest income”. What they provide is a mile away from helping those most in need. Using public land to enable it as numbers on the waiting list and in temporary accommodation rises sharply is really quite something.

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Roy

    I’m afraid as usual individuals in such places have little concept of right or wrong and sufficient intelligence to even understand the concept. Sad….If they wish to help the homeless it seems to me no one asks the homeless what they want. I am of the opinion that the answers would be ignored…then it becomes a weaponised issue. Ignoring the Electorate is one of many such issues……
    Green space is so rare yet Greenwich Council have no inkling of its importance…and as I commented previously I have never seen Greenwich Council create green space from previous housing or industrial land voluntarily in 25 years

  2. Can the council leader explain how selling the land for tiny dwellings that only those earning £90,000 per year can afford to buy is helping the homeless?

  3. John

    Nick Raynsford on the pocket living board – surely a conflict of interest, should not be able to do any property deals with Greenwich.
    As per a previous post – Greenwich, how can you be in the property business and be the approver of planning applications?

    You can fill in every public amenity space – but you get a horrible place to live. This particular road needs more amenity. Now that the sale is off – this space needs to be turned into a place that residents can enjoy more.

    Does affordable housing solve homelessness? Affordable in London – seems pretty steep.
    I would have thought rental properties – where the rent is affordable by benefit would be the answer. And surely you can only get those if you build at scale + the council gets to own a % of the flats.

  4. Paul SuperUnknown

    What a lying sack of! How low will they get? The Council is no more concerned about Homelessness, or the Homeless, than a starving man is with a rubber chicken!
    The Council has time, and time again, allowed builders to shirk their responsibility for building the required number of truly affordable flats by paying money into a fund, which never seems to be spent on housing for the homeless!
    The attitude of the Councillors in Greenwich makes me sick! It is absolutely disgusting!

  5. Jonathan

    Option 6.3.1 says that a Local Authority New Builds, though they can achieve 100% affordable housing, do not generate ‘capital receipts’. But this advice to the councillors doesn’t mention long-term rent receipts. Wouldn’t these be significant over the lifetime of any housing erected on the site?

    • fromthemurkydepths

      They would. It’s short term thinking. Since that decision millions more than planned have had to be spent housing people in B&Bs, emergency accomodation etc given lack of council homes.

  6. Greenwich Park Fan

    We need to get the tens of thousands of homes already planned on the Peninsula built before selling off more public land.

  7. Didn’t think so as Greenwich council shows no interest in alleviating the severe housing shortage over which it presides.

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