Newham Citizens leaders feel that affordable housing is a key Olympic Legacy commitment that has been abandoned at Stratford Waterfront with viability given as a key explanation, and in particular that ‘the construction of large, high quality cultural and educational buildings’ bears significant costs that result in significant scheme deficit in viability terms.
They also stress that 35% affordable housing is 15% below the 50% commitment on public land made under Ken Livingstone as part of the original agreement with local people. Also, a 100% shared ownership development is at odds with the Supplementary Planning Guidance and local plan guidance. The gap between local incomes and likely cost of shared ownership housing is staggering and simply not affordable for local people.
The group has asked residents of the Olympic legacy boroughs to come forward and register their views on a survey to be presented to the GLA and LLDC showing the strength of feeling on housing in the borough.
Sean Connolly, Priest of St Stephen’s Church in Manor Park and a member of the Newham Citizens Olympics Strategy Team said: “Whilst we welcome the new housing on the Park, it is clear that initial promises of 50% affordable housing have been compromised. We feel the LLDC and the GLA have missed the mark and have fallen short of Lord Coe’s claim that the Olympics ‘would be a catalyst for investment creating new quality housing, much of which would be affordable.’”
Dr Penny Bernstock, former Director of the Centre for East London Studies, and co-chair of the Newham Citizens Olympics Strategy Team, said: “The cost of shared ownership housing in Stratford bears no relationship with median or average incomes, and we do not want the Olympic Housing Legacy to become another ‘white elephant’.
“We’d like to see Stratford Waterfront have an inclusive model that meets the needs of a range of groups, taking inspiration from developments like Coin Street, which played an important role in ensuring low income groups could live on the Southbank. We want something equally imaginative for East Bank. We are asking the LLDC to work with us to deliver a meaningful housing legacy for EastEnders.”