Step-by-step – or is that brick-by-brick? – social cleansing is coming to Croydon.
A luxury hotel in central London is the swanky venue today for an auction for property speculators at which £7.2million-worth of former social flats and houses is to be flogged off. Three flats in the sale are in Croydon, being sold by a housing association.
Savills, the estate agents, is staging the property auction at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square. The Croydon flats are among 14 housing association properties being sold into the private market. There’s another six being flogged by councils.
The social housing being put up for sale, from Croydon, Harlesden and Camberwell, is in areas where there are more than 7,000 families in temporary housing and 104 people sleeping on the streets, according to government figures.
- BECOME AN INSIDE CROYDON SUPPORTER: For just £4 per month, you can support the local journalism that brings you Inside Croydon. Click here to sign-up as a donor
When Savills last conducted an auction like this, last month, it included a two-bed HA flat in Bayswater which went for a cool £603,000. Also sold, The Guardian reports, was “a housing association flat in Paddington belonging to a woman who was forced to move after her housing benefit was cut by the so-called bedroom tax”.
The newspaper reports, “These sales are part of a wider trend that has seen some housing associations sell off social housing in high-value inner city areas in order to fund new developments, which tenants claim are frequently let at close to market rents, or even sold on the open market to private buyers.”
Here in Croydon, Brick by Brick, the council’s wholly owned housing developer, is conducting a version of a massive transfer of public property into private hands. Using a loan of public money, Brick by Brick has bought £9million-worth of council property and land to develop 1,000 homes, of which more than 600 will immediately go for private sale, with fewer than 400 to be handed to housing associations for rent or shared ownership.
Housing association Notting Hill Housing is selling five flats worth more than £1.6million in today’s auction. It is Notting Hill Housing who have been involved in the redevelopment of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark. There, more than 2,000 council homes have been replaced by… zero council homes.
In 2015, Neil Hadden, the chief executive of Genesis housing association – which is soon to merge with Notting Hill Housing – told Inside Housing that housing people on the lowest income was not his “problem” any more, as his focus was supplying homes at different price points.
Today’s Guardian report quotes a Notting Hill Housing tenant, Gemini Verney-Dyde, as saying of the social housing auction, “If you sell off central London property because of its value, you are essentially socially cleansing. The only people who can buy those properties are wealthy people.”
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
- 1.4 MILLION PAGE VIEWS IN 2017
- “Monitored” by the council CEO since 2010
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org