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View from Archway: Lack of social housing stinks

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 April 2018

An artist's impression of the new Hill House development in Archway where not one of the 150 new flats is expected to be affordable. Picture: HAWKINS/BROWN

An artist's impression of the new Hill House development in Archway where not one of the 150 new flats is expected to be affordable. Picture: HAWKINS/BROWN

Archant

It isn’t shocking in the slightest that developer Bode has done what the law has enabled and encouraged it to do at Hill House in Archway.

It is, after all, usually left to councils rather than developers to ensure that building projects do the right thing.

For no reason other than being generally good people would Bode have voluntarily used some of its presumably eyewatering profits to chip away at the housing crisis gripping Islington and neighbouring Camden.

The firm isn’t a charity, after all, even though it has benefited from an enormous government handout in legislative terms.

It’s good to see three ward councillors in Finsbury Park – Gary Heather, Asima Shaikh and Mick O’Sullivan (Lab) – levelling a similar criticism at City North N4 for its development there in today’s Islington Gazette, although it is also worth noting that their own council’s planning committee signed it off however many years ago.

Town halls should put more faith in their bargaining position when it comes to insisting on affordable housing.

Developers are still in line for huge profits whatever social good they commit to doing, and are unlikely to turn down a goldmine just because it has a few conditions attached.

But that simply doesn’t apply to Hill House, where Islington Council has no recommendations to stick to, and no legal backing to turn down an application. The whole thing is nonsense.

• Ramzy Alwakeel is Editor of the Ham&High’s sister paper the Islington Gazette, where he frequently rambles about social housing

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