Old Holloway garages made into homes
- Credit: Archant
More than £3million has been spent converting disused garages into new homes – but fears have been raised they could be sold cheaply and end up in the hands of developers.
The 17 new homes on Vulcan Way, on the Westbourne Estate, Holloway, were formally unveiled on June 15 in place of 60 abandoned garages. They included two family homes and 15 one-bed flats – which a group of residents toured with local dignitaries.
But 10 of the flats have already been sold privately and housing experts are now worried the rest – dedicated to social housing – could end up in the hands of developers via the right to buy (RTB) scheme.
Under RTB, anyone who has lived in their council house for more than two years can purchase it regardless of whether the council wants to sell – with a discount of up to £100,000 on the market value.
Brian Potter, chairman of the Islington Leaseholder Association (ILA), said: “If they’ve spent all that money on housing that’s supposed to be there for the poorest in the borough and after two years it’s going to end up on the open market, its a waste.
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“They might as well just call them private. It’s government legislation, so there is nothing the council can do about it, but housing that ismeant to be for the poorest could well up in the hands of developers – the wealthiest.”
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A spokesman for Islington Council confirmed RTB was available on the new homes, but the town hall would be guaranteed at least the building cost – around £70,000 per one-bed flat.
Speaking at last week’s opening event, Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development, said: “Building new council homes for local people, like these on Vulcan Way, helps families living in overcrowding and means we can make sure there is more genuinely-affordable housing in Islington.
“I’m pleased to hear from so many local residents that, although the works have been disruptive, the new homes and open space have really improved the look and feel the estate.”
Under the local lettings policy, the new council homes have been allocated to existing local residents who either lived in overcrowded homes or wanted to downsize.”
or residents with mobility problems who need homes that are easier for them to access and get around.