A group of Fitzrovia residents are encouraging their neighbours to write to MPs, local councillors and the media to fight the government’s Housing and Planning Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.
The residents include Eileen O’Keefe, an emeritus professor of public health, and John O’Keefe, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist.
In a letter to Fitzrovia News the residents say:
“Our mansion block is owned by Camden Council, and occupied by a mix of council tenants and leaseholders. We are a stable community, reflecting the local population, with a range of different income and ethnic groups and age profiles, and offer a good example of social cohesion.”
The letter is a copy of that sent to their elected representatives. In it they argue that those on modest incomes will be priced out of their homes and property developers would acquire any high-value properties that councils will be obliged to sell.
The effect of the legislation will be that that stable communities like theirs “fragments and dies”, they write.
The residents’ letter is just one example of many forms of opposition to the government’s housing plans.
Camden Council say the legislation includes changes such as the obligatory sale of council-owned homes, the introduction of a “Pay to Stay” rules, and provisions which will appear set to reduce the amount of affordable housing that can be secured for the community when new developments are built.
Keir Starmer the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras is strongly opposed to the government’s plans while Mark Field the Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster says he supports “the thrust of the government’s Housing & Planning Bill” but has reservations about some aspects of it.
Housing activists and trade unions are organising against the Housing Bill which is due to be passed by Parliament by Easter. Council tenants and others who want to defend council housing are encouraged to attend a meeting in Holborn this Saturday.
Kill the Housing Bill — Secure Homes for All: Public meeting, 11am-1pm, Saturday 16 January 2016, Unite offices, 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN.
Ask your MP to oppose the Housing and Planning Bill. Copy to Labour shadow housing minister john.healey.MP@parliament.uk And to Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Twitter:@brandonlewis. Or you can write to them at House of Commons, London WC1A 0AA, or phone 020 7219 3000 and ask for their office. More details and for model letters see DefendCouncilHousing.org.uk