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In a move similar to Croydon Council’s plans to offer its residents housing in Hull, Yorkshire’s East Riding, (see story in February edition), Newham Council, East London, wrote to housing associations across the UK in April seeking accommodation for people on its housing waiting list.
Media condemnation of the situation was high, citing examples of Londoners being offered housing in, for example, Walsall, West Midlands. Allegations that this amounted to ‘social cleansing’ of the area were rebutted by the council and others.
Keith Fernett, director of Anchor House in East London, said, “We believe that the introduction and focusing on the concept of social cleansing to be both unhelpful and emotive. Such a radical proposal is a reflection upon the seriousness of the housing situation generally and especially in Newham.”
However, as reported in The Pavement, we know the shortage nor the solution are not restricted to Newham Council. The BBC reported that Smart Housing Group, a private housing provider, had approached three other London authorities with a plan to purchase housing stock in cities such as Nottingham to house London families.
Regardless of what these moves suggest about the state of housing in London, there are genuine concerns about support services available in areas which appear to have ample housing, and whether local authorities can cope with the extra residences coming onto their books.