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Anti-Social Housing for £1.5 MILLION

painter | 23.01.2006 16:45 | Cambridge

Cambridge City Council has allowed a private developer to buy its way out of a legal obligation to include a proportion of 'affordable' housing in any new housing project. This cost the company just two million pounds and they've just sold ONE of their flats for £1.5 Million!

Yours for just a million and a half quid!
Yours for just a million and a half quid!

The Highland Homes Belvedere development on Hills Road (opposite side of the road to The Junction), has been allowed to be built as an exclusive development for the wealthy commuter with NOTHING for local people who earn normal wages. In a city with some of the highest house prices and rents in the country, how can Cambridge City Council justify allowing Highland Homes to ignore it's obligations under planning legislation by building new homes that are clearly beyond the reach of the vast majority of Cambridge people? The average price of a house in Cambridge is £231,583, compared to a national average of £157,000.

Sure, there are plenty of people in these parts that can afford such ridiculous prices, but there are far more who have no hope of escaping the insecurity of the private rented sector, including thousands who earn what would be sufficient to consider buying a home in other parts of the country. The waiting list for Council Housing is seemingly endless. If you've got kids you have a chance of getting a place eventually, but if not...forget it, the Council will never house you.

It is, of course, due to factors largely beyond the control of the City Council that the housing situation is what it is. A generally unequal economic system (hey, that's Capitalism folks!) and a lack of interest in the housing situation of those who fall below New Labours potential middle-class-voter radar are perhaps far more powerful causes. But the City Councillors should be held to account for this outrageous decision to allow people on low incomes to be shut out from this new development. Research on social exclusion shows beyond any doubt that splitting people up into separate geographical areas according to wealth, is a major factor in the problems of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer. Allowing private companies, who clearly couldn't give a toss about anyone not in a financial position to buy one of their overpriced houses, to build exclusive little neighbourhoods for the super-rich is exacerbating the problems of the ever growing gap between rich and poor in this country and beyond.

Now, I'm not always one to suggest lobbying our elected representatives as a sensible political strategy, but I think in this case, it might be worth a go. If you're up for it, click on the link below, find out who your local councillors are in your ward (they'll be three of 'em), and ask them to justify their actions.

And if you felt like redecorating the advertising hoardings around the new development...well, I couldn't possibly suggest something like that ;-)



Display the following 2 comments

  1. This has also happened in a town I know well. — Matthew Edwards
  2. Really very basic ... — A. Pedant