Chris Hayward, Mark Boleat, The Denizen & A Housing Market Rotting From The Top

Curious isn’t it that at least two City of London councillors responsible for poor planning decisions as regards housing in Cripplegate also happen to live in the suburban Three Rivers district that has recently been flagged up as suffering from spiralling homelessness. What’s more one of them, Chris Hayward, is actually a councillor in that part of Hertfordshire. The other, Mark Boleat, is chair of the Housing & Finance Institute – which lobbies on behalf of property developers, is backed financially by the Corporation of London, and punts what it calls ‘solutions’ to the so-called housing crisis that will only make matters worse. The Daily Mirror reported the matter this way:

The Tory housing crisis is costing taxpayers more than £1billion every year, a Mirror investigation reveals today.

A shortage of affordable homes means record numbers of homeless people are living in temporary accommodation…

The Mirror probe obtained figures through Freedom of Information requests to 380 councils.

They show that £1.1billion was spent on putting homeless families in temporary accommodation last year.

The bill has risen 33,000% in Three Rivers, Herts – from just £2,375 in 2009/10 to £798,717 in 2016/17.

Tory housing crisis costing taxpayers £1 BILLION per year on temporary accommodation – with one authority hit by 33,000% rise by Andrew Gregory and Claire Miller, Daily Mirror, 4 March 2018.

Since homelessness also impacts the rotten local authority to which Hayward and Boleat were ‘elected’ in undemocratic business vote wards, as well as where they live in the Three Rivers district, it seems reasonable to conclude it is heartlessness and greed that enables them to turn their heads away from this social injustice and pursue a housing agenda intended to benefit the super-rich. Both voted in favour of allowing Taylor Wimpey planning permission for The Denizen AKA The Turd. This proposed block of luxury flats currently being marketed off-plan to investors in South East Asia will replace the 110 social housing units for key workers that used to exist in Bernard Morgan House with empty ghost homes. There is no on site social housing provision in The Denizen and Taylor Wimpey also used viability loopholes to massively reduce its S106 social contribution.

The desperate need for social housing in the Cripplegate area in which Taylor Wimpey plan to build The Denizen was more than evident last weekend, when City of London police could be seen moving on a large group of rough sleepers from the edge of the Golden Lane Estate, just metres from where Bernard Morgan House stood until recently. This is right on the border with neighbouring Islington, which has many more rough sleepers and is patrolled by the less well-resourced Metropolitan Police.

Given that London house prices are deflating and have been reported as falling by as much as 15% in some areas, as well as the collapse of UK investment property schemes pitched at the same market as Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen project, if this block is built then Cripplegate residents may well have to deal with drug flats in empty properties (narcopisos) like those that have blighted big Iberian cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, since the housing market bubble burst in that part of Europe. There is already a huge problem with drug dealing and use in the area surrounding The Denizen site.

Currently half of London luxury ghost flats are failing to sell but there could easily be a big increase in this figure not just because of poor market conditions but also due to political issues such as the potential fall out from the Sergei Skripal case. A great deal of dirty money has been invested in London property, and and many of the flats that were eventually sold in The Heron AKA Milton Court, a short walk from Taylor Wimpey’s Denizen site, were bought by Russians wanting to make ‘investments’ outside that country. In the wake of the Skripal case, visa bans for Russians and closer monitoring of potential money laundering could put another huge dent in the market for luxury investment flats in London. Likewise once one property in a ghost tower becomes a narcopiso, the rest may become unsaleable and unusable for the odd holiday visit. Voting in favour of giving The Denizen planning permission may well have been a far bigger mistake than the likes of Chris Hayward, Mark Boleat, ‘Sir’ Michael Bear and James Thomson, realised when they did so.

Pippa Henslowe.

MarkBoleat3
Three Rivers resident Mark Boleat who led the City of London council when it decided to financially support the Housing & Finance Institute which he also chairs.

Notes.

The image at the top shows a rough sleeper’s tent in the City of London.

Tory housing crisis costing taxpayers £1 BILLION per year on temporary accommodation – with one authority hit by 33,000% rise by Andrew Gregory and Claire Miller: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-housing-crisis-costing-taxpayers-12126756

Narcopisos: Spain’s ‘drug flats’ give focus for fight against heroin threat by Stephen Burgen in Barcelona and Sam Jones: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/12/narcopisos-spains-drug-flats-see-communities-unite-to-fight-heroin-threat

London property prices fall as much as 15% as Brexit effect deepens by Patrick Collinson: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/mar/12/london-property-prices-plunge-as-brexit-effect-deepens

Revealed: the collapsed UK property schemes luring small investors by David Pegg and Oliver Wainwright: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/11/collapsed-uk-property-schemes-foreign-investors-george-osborne

Edgy urban apartments, lavish promos – and a trail of angry investors by Oliver Wainwright and David Pegg: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/13/buyer-funded-development-scandal

Ghost towers: half of new-build luxury London flats fail to sell by Rupert Neate: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/26/ghost-towers-half-of-new-build-luxury-london-flats-fail-to-sell

ChrisHaywardClockworkSmall
Three Rivers resident and clockwork Tory Chris Hayward who chairs the City of London Planning and Transportation Committee.

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