Shoreditch Tenants – Being Realistic?

Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004)┬ámember and Chair of Wenlock Barn tenant association, Tony Butler replies to Housing Minister Lord Falconer’s comments that Shoreditch tenants need to be “realistic” as reported in the Guardian on February 14th.

To respond to Lord Faulkers comments “the community need to be realistic” because we choose to have our homes refurbished rather than knocked down – Reported in your article (Flagship scheme under threat) 14 February.

The opposition in Shoreditch to demolition is based on sound reasoning as we know it is backdoor privatisation. No new build homes in Hackney have been council homes. Redeveloped estates Hackney never have the same amount of social homes as before demolition and tenant returnee rates have been abysmally low.

The fact is there is a homeless crisis in Hackney and London. Temporary decantees from demolition in Shoreditch are unlikely ever to return as the Council’s policy is to house those who are the destitute and most vulnerable as an absolute priority. Holly Street is the classic and typical example. Lauded by the PM and in Re-gen circles. 3000 homes demolished 2000 home new build, 800 RSL’s homes, and the rest open market sales. A report commissioned by London Borough of Hackney acknowledges only 1 in 10 tenants returned.

The change in the economic profile of the new residents in Holly Street has been celebrated as an added bonus. New Build, New people, and hey presto! The Government & Hackney has solved the social problems of poverty, deprivation. Simply by dispersing it. We don’t fancy being replaced with anyone including those middle income KEY WORKERS.

We know that talk of ‘Tenure diversification’ of working class areas is all the rage Re-gen circles. Its funny how they never talk about merits of Tenure diversification in Surbiton, Barnes, Hampstead, Buckinghamshire, the Home Counties or any other up market areas where they live. The bottom line is that gentrification/social cleansing is pushing working people out of inner London through the combination of Government/Local Authority housing polices and good old market forces.

Most people in Shoreditch know that they will never be able to afford, or be eligible for the Shiny new homes on offer after demolition; all we want is for our existing homes to be renewed.

That is being realist Lord Faulkner

Tony Butler
Wenlock Tenants and Residents Association