A sorry tale of housing neglect

Thursday, 4th August

• YOU report a sorry tale of neglect of social housing repairs, (Demolition of 1960s estate will change the face of Kentish Town, July 28).

Camden Council has neglected West Kentish Town estate for many years. We hear about no new roof, no new services. These need replacing every 20 to 30 years as part of routine maintenance.

One Housing have not maintained Juniper Close and Gilbeys Yard and propose to demolish the buildings after just 25 years.

When repairs are needed the answer is not to knock the buildings down and rebuild them, along with double the number of homes for sale to fund the work, as proposed by Camden and One Housing.

This approach is wasteful. It wouldn’t be permitted for a private householder to do this.

Imagine someone trying to obtain planning permission to knock down a three-storey family house to build a tower of 10 storeys crammed with one-bedroom flats.

It doesn’t make sense. Why should it be permitted by social housing landlords?

The answer is a properly managed maintenance programme, where repairs are done in a timely fashion and people are not left in dire straits for decades.

In addition to the human cost, neglect of repairs resulting in demolition and rebuilding at triple the density is damaging because:

— it produces high levels of carbon emissions from unnecessary construction, contributing to global heating;

— it does not produce the sort of homes needed for a settled population but encourages a transitory lifestyle;

— it would completely change the Camden we know, with inhospitable tower blocks dominating the scene, as in the boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Vauxhall.

Where rebuilding is necessary for reasons other than neglect, it should be done with low- to medium-rise buildings that complement Camden, built from low-carbon materials to save the planet that we live on.


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