CROYDON COMMENTARY: As VALERIE HUNTER asks: Just why is the council-owned housing developer Brick by Brick going to the world’s biggest property speculator conference in the South of France next week?
So why are Brick by Brick going to MIPIM, the world’s largest property conference in Cannes next week, when Croydon Council, which owns the company, tells us its aim was to build homes for local families on council-owned land?
Local families need genuinely affordable – for rent as well as to buy – three-bedroom homes. But of the 29 sites listed on Inside Croydon’s article of November 21, 12 sites are for private sale only, and a mere five sites include “affordable” rent – and it appears that only a total of five of these homes have three bedrooms.
Nearly one half of the 756 homes planned are one-bedroom, and yet many thousands of one- and two-bedroom homes are planned or being built by private developers all over Croydon. Meanwhile, many existing three-bedroom homes are being converted into homes of multiple occupation – small flats – which may be good for the developers’ bottom line, but is no good for families.
Land is expensive, so on council-owned land, it might be expected that three-bedroom homes would be built, but Brick by Brick have stated, when building mostly one-bedroom homes, that this is unviable.
So is this why they’re going to Cannes – to sell off the surplus that local people cannot afford or want, resulting in more Croydon property being owned abroad, with more rent money going to overseas landlords, and the tenants having more difficulties in getting repairs done in the future?
Many of the small sites which the council’s house-builder wants to develop are garages. With the council also closing car parks so that they may be built on, the cars that used them will have to park on the streets, causing even more congestion.
The partnership between Brick by Brick and the Labour-run council seems to be as bad for Croydon Council Tax-payers as the Conservatives’ CCURV – Croydon Council Urban Regeneration Vehicle – with Laings proved to be, where constructions cost many tens of millions of pounds more than they should have done, and never with any explanation.
All of it money which could have been used to provide more affordable homes for local people.
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