31 January 2015
On Saturday 31st January, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens joined five thousand people on The March for Homes, starting at St. Leonard Church, Shoreditch and finishing with a rally outside City Hall. The march is the first of its type to bring together campaigners, tenants, and trade unionists on the inequality caused by housing policies.
Since December 2014, the government has exempted anyone who turns an empty building into private housing from paying for further affordable units, even if they could do so and still make healthy profits.
Ashley Gunstock, Green Party candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, was on the march.
He said: “Government has an ongoing obligation to look after the interests of ordinary citizens. But our current government prefers to support the interests of wealthy investors rather than to regulate the housing market. A home should be for living in, and ensuring an affordable roof over everyone's head should be an absolute priority.”
In Waltham Forest, the planned redevelopment of the twin towers of Fred Wigg and John Walsh on the edge of Wanstead flats, aims to improve the standard of accommodation for residents, but with the number of council flats on the site being cut from 234 to 160, the net number of flats available will shrink by a third. One of the two blocks will be converted into privately owned flats, leaving some of the current residents with no option but to be rehoused elsewhere.
Ashley added: “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.”