Housing in Ealing is set to become an increasingly big issue in the coming months and years. I don’t accept the high housing figure contained in the latest London Plan compared to other neighbouring boroughs and have urged the Council to negotiate a more realistic number. Yet I do recognise that there must be some growth in housing.
The arrival of Crossrail, in particular, means that Ealing will clearly see new demand and there are many local families wanting younger family members to stay in the area when they leave home. The population in Ealing is expanding. But it is important that we get additional family housing so as to maintain a balanced community; not just an influx of single bedroom flats.
Most importantly, we need to ensure that local services are properly expanded to meet any additional demand - before building starts. We must also ensure we protect our wonderful green spaces.
Over the past four years the Conservative Council has made good progress towards improving housing services in the borough. The introduction of a Golden Transfer allocation scheme has rewarded good existing Council tenants by making them eligible for new build accommodation, while the plan to abolish Ealing Homes’ monopoly over housing management will create a more competitive system that gives more power to tenants and leaseholders - even allowing them to sack managers that fail to fulfill their duties.
Over in Acton, major refurbishment work on the South Acton estate is due to start next month.
The Conservative Party has radical plans to give local people the final say on the homes they want. Strengthening shared ownership schemes, encouraging community-led local housing trusts, and finding new ways for tenants to have a greater say in how their homes are managed will all be a part of this."
In Ealing & Acton we have homes valued at over £2m yet within walking distance there are homes that suffer from paper thin sound insulation, damp and mould, gut wrenching lifts and many families living in overcrowded conditions with children growing up with little indoor space to play or privacy.
As someone who works for a housing provider, I understand the desperate need for decent affordable housing to allow local families to stay close and support each other.
There is a need for more housing though there must be a balance to achieve sustainable communities: between the right mix of affordable housing (including key worker and shared ownership) and private; delivering more family homes and appropriate housing for our increasingly older population; and perhaps most importantly building the infrastructure to serve those new residents, especially in education and health provision.
With the loss of social housing through the right to buy, the Labour government has sought to develop mixed and sustainable communities, and empower councils with the financial ability to build new council homes to bridge that gap. We are also ensuring new housing developments meet lifetime homes criteria; include waste reduction and the promotion of recycling facilities, as well as being more energy efficient.
I fully support the rights of leaseholders to ensure their landlord achieves competitive prices for repairs and maintenance work and deliver good customer services. I also support giving the council enforcement powers to deal with issues residents feel is leading to a detrimental impact upon their lives and the local environment around them, both in planning and anti-social behaviour terms.
Ealing suffers from the twin problems of inadequate, poorly managed social housing and excessive overdevelopment of speculative private developments, especially in central Ealing and West Ealing.
The council manages its housing through Ealing Homes, a failing organisation set up by the previous Labour administration in order to jump through hoops set up by the Labour government. Ealing Homes and Ealing Council spend their time trying to blame each other for continued housing failure. The current Tory council is only now starting to address these issues having neglected them for the first three years of their term. Meanwhile many people wait for years - or even decades - to be allocated social housing.
Council leaseholders are especially poorly served as they have the additional burden of cripplingly high bills to pay for works to their homes due to Ealing Homes' poorly negotiated contracts.
The Conservative council has allowed a proliferation of excessive residential overdevelopment, especially along the Uxbridge Road without the transport improvements, health facilities and schools needed to support it.
In a final twist, the Council has allowed developers to get away with only a small proportion of affordable housing in these schemes, so all this development does little to address Ealing's housing needs.