Union accuses council of 'intensifying social cleansing' with new development in Barking
PUBLISHED: 11:30 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:02 25 March 2019
A row has broken out after a union has accused the council of 'intensifying social cleansing' by approving a development with no social homes.
The GMB has slammed Barking and Dagenham Council for agreeing plans to demolish Crown House in Linton Road, Barking, and build 396 flats, none of which would be offered at social rents.
A viability study to see if homes for people living in temporary accommodation and the homeless could be included was rejected by council officers before the planning committee gave the redevelopment the green light last week.
This is despite the council saying there are more than 7,000 households on its housing waiting list, up from 4,587 last year.
Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary, said: “The council’s demolition plan will intensify social cleansing rather than solve the housing crisis.
“Thousands of working people in Barking and Dagenham are being left abandoned on housing waiting lists amid spiralling rents and growing demand.
“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.”
A council spokesman denied the scheme would have no social housing saying that of the 169 properties, 30 per cent will be at 45 pc or 56 pc of local market rate.
He added: “Crown House is a largely dilapidated private office building and does not contain any council homes as claimed.
“On the contrary, the decision by the council will ensure there are homes for local people in the new development.
“As there is 35 pc affordable housing on the development it does not require any viability study.
“It is misleading to say the new development will not contain social housing.”
He added: “Going forwards, we have ambitious plans to build new housing that local families can call home. Over the next four years alone we are building over 2,000 affordable homes. However, we are not working in a vacuum.
“We receive little government funding to build new homes and not able to keep and use all of proceeds of council housing sold under the right to buy.
“We have won national awards for our inclusive growth and social housing initiatives.”