Oh, how we laughed – not – when someone in the offices of the council’s unaccountable property speculators, Brick by Brick, decided to tweet a joke yesterday.
“This week we have been mainly painting hoardings…”, they said, apparently channeling The Fast Show.
Except Brick by Brick has been anything but, well, fast. The housing company, which is supposed to be delivering 1,000 new homes around the borough, has taken nearly three years and has yet to lay a single brick.
“We’re delighted to be starting to build out our first batch of 10 or so sites from this week. Look out for info locally from our development team and contractors, and contact us if you need any other info,” they offered, as if they have shown any concern for existing residents at all so far, with schemes being granted planning permission when legally required consultations had not been properly conducted.
The private company, established by a Labour council, is certainly not building any council homes.
As Inside Croydon revealed recently, they have already admitted that they will fall well short of their own target of delivering 50 per cent quasi-affordable homes.
In fact, Brick by Brick now plans to provide only 8 per cent of homes for affordable rent. The bulk of the rest, 64 per cent of what Brick by Brick builds, will go for private sale.
All this is thanks to public loans and £250million of public land and property being made available thanks to decisions steam-rollered through by council CEO Jo Negrini and husband and wife development tag team Alison Butler and Paul Scott, the Labour council cabinet member for housing and the chair of the planning committee.
Residents of existing social housing – many of them Labour Party supporters and members – who are seeing their local green spaces surrounded by Brick by Brick’s Croydon-purple hoardings are, as you might imagine, underwhelmed at the destruction of their neighbourhood, and without even the solace that it might be providing council housing.
“Brick by Brick have started erecting a compound on the green area next to Auckland Road,” our loyal reader said.
“So much for the efforts of the estate’s residents and local people to prevent the scarring of a well-designed estate which will have relatively low housing gain. The planning application to Croydon Council by Brick by Brick was opposed on conservation grounds and its poor design by many in the community, including the Norwood Society.
“We feel very sorry for the estate residents who will overlook this in the coming years (Croydon always takes ages to build anything!). To add insult to injury the boarding is painted in Croydon corporate colours rather than something that minimises the impact.
“All very depressing.”
And not a single council home to be built.
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