With housing the council needs to stand up for residents

Friday, 14th January

• THE Site Allocations Local Plan aims to meet the housing targets set out in the London Plan.

However the London Plan does not demonstrate housing need in any meaningful way.

Rather it is based on the idea that London “part of a global and national housing market”, which is a reality but one that needs to be damped down not encouraged.

Rather than being a money-making machine London needs to be a place where people can live good lives.

Rather than blindly assuming that London needs to continue to grow and attract people to move to the capital, housing should be developed to meet the needs of existing communities and create sustainable, low-carbon, neighbourhoods.

There are towns and cities in the UK that need population growth more than London.

So called “growth areas” have been identified by Camden’s planners to meet the mayor’s agenda for growth.

They have offered up areas of our borough to the mayor for “intensification”, on the basis of what they think can be forced through and imposed on the population.

On the whole this is driven by a housing market agenda rather than one that will result in good quality housing for local people.

This approach is antithetical to developing sustainable, low-carbon, neighbourhoods. Sustainable growth should be initiated from within communities rather than be imposed by a system that is motivated by the market.

In Camden we have the housing register which needs to be addressed. But the dominating trend is a developer-driven model to exploit our area with market homes built as investments.

We only have to look around to see the outcome, from King’s Cross to Vauxhall and Elephant and Castle.

It is a disaster: oversupply of high-rise, high-carbon, buildings that are often empty, offering poor quality accommodation and creating hostile environments where nature has been eliminated.

We need to restrict buildings to a height where they can be built using low-carbon construction. This form of medium-rise development is far more appropriate for Camden.

Because of the climate emergency, new homes should be provided wherever possible by retrofitting existing buildings in order to minimise the high levels carbon emissions caused by construction. This needs to be a part of any plan.

There should be no high-rise buildings permitted, as they are carbon intensive to build and operate. Camden Council needs to be bold and stand up to national planning policy expectations.

The pandemic and climate and ecological emergencies have not yet been processed by the plan-makers.

Camden Council has taken bold action in the past and needs again to stand up for the interests of residents of Camden. This is what we have a council for.

SUE SHEPHERD
Savernake Road, NW3

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