When voters in Hackney go to the polls on May 22nd a key issue will be affordable housing and the ongoing gentrification of the borough.
This was apparent when East London Lines spoke with residents at the Ridley Road Market:
Many feel that the influx of the upper middle classes into areas such as Hackney and Tower Hamlets are pricing lower paid workers out of the property and rental markets.
With the average guide price for a two-bedroom flat in the area standing at £550,000 but the average worker taking home £31,000 (according to Hackney Policy and Partnerships Team) some commentators have called into question what exactly is affordable.
Since the last local council and mayoral elections in 2010 Hackney Labour Party, who control the council, have built more than 2,500 homes in the aim of making rent more affordable.
With 221 new council houses since 2011, Hackney has the third highest number of affordable homes built in the country since 2011.
There is a further election pledge to build 600 council-built homes for social rent and shared ownership.
East London Lines spoke with Jules Pipe about the gentrification issue and how the council works with developers on new developments:
Hackney Lib Dem candidate for Mayor, Simon De Deney, doesn’t think Mayor Pipe and the council are doing enough and should be working with the community more closely when It comes to building developments.
Here is what Mr De Deney had to say when he met with East London Lines:
All parties seem to be united for the need for more social and affordable housing but there are differences.
Hackney Conservatives candidate Linda Kelly pushes for a family focus.
“[Should I be voted in as Mayor] I will prioritise the building of family homes in Hackney. We need homes for families and communities, not dormitories for commuters”. Homes which families can afford to buy and build communities for future generations. The word “affordable” in this context I believe is an utter misnomer.”
Hackney Green Party’s Mischa Borris is also campaigning for the definition for affordable housing to be changed.
Independent candidate for Mayor Mustafa Korel thinks the council should look at its regeneration policy.
“The current regeneration strategy seldom does anything to lift an entire area out of poverty – what it regeneration was intended for in the first place. Instead it focuses solely on attracting builds for big money at the expense of those of us who live here.
“I have a clear policy on addressing the affordable homes crisis.
We must disinsentivise developers from leaving properties dormant. There’s c. 2,000 empty homes in the borough (and the Council owns half of that, too). Kent has a successful model in bringing empty properties back in to use, and instead of starting from scratch, we’d look at their model and how it could be applied to Hackney.”
Whatever the outcome of the election the question on affordable housing looks likely to remain an issue close to the hearts of Hackney residents, so who will get your vote?
For a full list of candidates of Mayor in Hackney go to our “Who wants My Vote? Mayoral Candidates for Hackney 2014”