Wednesday 13 July 2011

Next Step For H&F Conservatives' Controversial Housing Demolitions Scheme Announced

H&F's Labour councillors first exposed the
Conservatives plans with this leaflet in 2007. Now
the Tories don't even try to hide what they're doing
The very best explanation for David Cameron’s use of the words “appalling lies” is that he had absolutely no understanding of the Conservative Party housing policies he was talking about. Indeed, even H&F Conservatives have changed their tune and dropped their accusations of “scaremongering.”

Now, it is plain for all to see that this council administration does in fact intend to demolish thousands of local council homes and leave many people will little choice but to move out of the Borough.

My fellow Labour councillors and I first uncovered these plans in 2007. But it is only since the elections last year that H&F Conservatives have become more brazen about what they’re doing. The latest instalment of this saga can be considered on page 203 of the next set of H&F Council’s cabinet papers. Those say:

“This report recommends that an exclusivity agreement be entered into with Capital and Counties in order to continue negotiations towards a potential Land Sale Agreement for the inclusion of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in a comprehensive regeneration scheme.”

H&F Conservatives now argue that this is a “regeneration scheme” that will be much better for the current residents. If that is in any way true we should expect to see them carry out a vote of the residents whose homes are to be demolished. But I’m willing to bet that won’t happen. Even our Conservatives don’t yet appear to have started believing their own propaganda.

Take a look elsewhere in the same council papers. On page 348 you’ll see that the Conservatives propose to introduce a “Right to Move Pilot” – probably more aptly put as a Right to Clear-Off-Out-Of-Here. That tells us that our council hopes “To agree to a joint pilot of a Right to Move scheme for Council’s tenants to move to properties outside the Borough. The pilot to run in conjunction with Notting Hill Housing Group.”

Meanwhile, on 18th April the Conservative cabinet gave its unanimous support to selling off many council homes instead of re-letting them to people on the housing waiting list which is detailed in this report.

If you’re trying to square the circle and work out where all our council house residents will go then the obvious answer is these policies mean many won't all be able to stay in this Borough. Indeed, now that rents have been hiked up to "near market levels", large numbers of residents of social housing will have no option but to leave Hammersmith and Fulham for cheaper shelter elsewhere. Combine that exodus with those leaving because of a similarly harsh approach taken to Local Housing Allowances and our Borough begins to have a very different population is a relatively short space of time.

No comments: