Local housing: Sinful poor or sympathetic council solution?

16 January 2015

This week, it was reported in the national press that the plans to cut social housing, as part of a longer term redevelopment of the Fred Wigg and John Walsh tower blocks, have met yet more opposition. Now, following Wednesday’s angry residents’ meeting at Leytonstone’s Epicentre, members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, who had previously attended a residents’ meeting before Christmas, believe that Labour are selectively reporting residents’ experiences.

Green Party member RoseMary Warrington said: "The impression I had from the meeting was that too many people were unaware of the implication of moving on their security of tenure. Tenants should have been fully consulted – that means being balloted fairly."

The decision to re-develop the towers was unanimously voted for by all Labour cabinet members at Waltham Forest Town Hall last year. Under the approved plan, a third block will be erected between the existing blocks, overlooking Wanstead Flats, and new flats will be sold on the open market. The council say that this will allow it to raise an estimated three-quarters of the £40m that the project demands.

Cabinet member for Housing, Khevyn Limbajee, claims that the erection of the third block will minimise disruption to tower residents, who “will only have to move a few metres when the flats are being renovated.”

Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party believe that many vitally important questions have been left unanswered by Mr Limbajee. Above all, we wonder how current residents will be able to return to live in their former homes with the number of council flats on the site being cut from 234 to 160.

RoseMary concluded: "London is in the throes of a severe housing crisis. Our council needs to do its bit to support ordinary residents rather than openly pandering to the well-to-do."

As the election gets nearer, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens will be campaigning on this issue.