Housing, or the lack of it, is a significant issue across the UK, but London in particular is currently in the midst of a housing crisis.
The average cost of a home in North East London is around £460,000, and most cost more than 10 times the average salary.
To try to ease the problem, the East London Boroughs Barking and Dagenham has recently unveiled plans to build 50,000 new homes in East London over the next 20 years, as well as improve transport connections into the area.
Speaking at New London Architecture’s ‘On Location’ event, the Strategic Director for Growth and Homes at Barking and Dagenham Council, John East, said that the Borough’s ambition is to become ‘East London’s cultural hub’.
Stating that the Council wants the new developments to be seen as ‘Barcelona-on-Thames’, Mr East and others running the East London Council are set to change the impact and influence of local authorities.
When one local authority does something it sets a precedent, and creates competition.
Now that Barking and Dagenham Council has been shown to be ambitious for its house-building programme nearby local authorities, and local authorities across the country, will be looking at this assessing how it will impact them and what they can replicate.
Havering Council, on the Essex-London border, has also recently announced more details of a regeneration programme, which will see 3,500 homes built in the Borough over the next 10 years.
While these housing strategies will provide much-needed homes, these types of projects are usually new flats or townhouses, so they are unlikely to combat the real issue with housing, especially in London, which is the cost.
In most cases these new properties only serve to bring new people into the area, and at the same time the family homes that people move into as the climb up the property ladder are still in short supply.
Local authorities need to ensure that their housing strategies are built for the issues we face, which means addressing the lack of affordable homes, but also the right type of homes.The only way to bring prices down is build lots of flats, which will reduce the flat prices because of the demand for them.
The price of family homes, such as terraced properties, will never really fall because people are always looking for more space, and these high-rise developments will only be starter-properties for single people or small families starting out. They simply do not provide the space a growing family requires.
The solution to simply build more high-rise blocks of flats is a sticking plaster because as families grow they will need more space, and so will need to move to a larger property.
By redeveloping large plots of land for housing, local authorities need to be looking at quality as opposed to just quantity to ensure they deal with both problems faced by East Londoners and others.
For those who are already on the ladder, or are in the process of buying, it can be a stressful process.
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