Letting the Waterlow lodge isn't such a barmy idea

I feel a bit sorry for Cllr Chris Naylor, Camden s housing chief. He has to take an enormous amount of mindless flak from both left and right while striving to do the best he can for us all. Usually he is being demonised by the ideological left for planni

I feel a bit sorry for Cllr Chris Naylor, Camden's housing chief. He has to take an enormous amount of mindless flak from both left and right while striving to do the best he can for us all.

Usually he is being demonised by the ideological left for planning a "mass sell-off of council homes". In fact what he has done to date is to sell 23 properties, just six of which (all empty and in need of costly repairs) ever formed part of Camden's 24,000 housing stock. Selling these unused properties has raised a healthy £11 million toward bringing the rest of Camden's homes up to decent standards of repair.

This week, though, the attack has changed sides. Now Cllr Naylor is under attack for NOT having sold a supposed council property, but instead having let it as temporary home for a Kentish Town resident whose flat is being repaired.

The Grade II-listed gatekeepers' lodge at Waterlow Park in Highgate Village has been duly dubbed "the most expensive council house in Britain", and Camden officials branded as "barmy" by The Sun, no less.


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Using a house for housing may seem barmy to The Sun, but it seems quite sensible to me, especially when one learns that the Grade II listed building has only been used as storage for the past ten years!

And letting it on a temporary basis sensibly keeps the council's options open as to its future use.

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I think we should congratulate Cllr Naylor and his officials for following a sensible and pragmatic case-by-case approach, seeking to make the best and most timely use of the council's very diverse properties as they become available. So refreshing to have someone in charge who is not hidebound by ideological dogma of either left or right! Go, Chris!

Robin Young

Bedford Court Mansions,

Bedford Avenue, WC1B

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