West Ham football team will soon be leaving the Boleyn Stadium in Upton Park to move to its new home in the Olympic Park. As a result, the site is up for grabs and the aim is to use the site to build new homes, desperately needed in the local area. However, Newham Council does not seem interested in actually providing homes that can be afforded by the average income earner in Newham (£27,000 a year) and instead seems intent on attracting developers who will build homes at the top-end of the market. This is supported by the fact that they are considering a planning application from Galliard Homes, not known for their commitment to social housing. From their website (http://www.galliardhomes.com/about-us):
A proud 23 year track record of offering support and opportunity to London’s property investors. Delivering luxury new homes in London and far beyond since 1990.
Local residents, including Friends of Queen’s market, have expressed concern both to the developers and to Newham Council, that Galliard’s plans are going to change the character of the area. This could mean that Queen’s Market itself could once again face threats of redevelopment. We support calls by campaigners for 100% social housing on the site, together will green spaces and health facilities. It is time to stop accepting that any new development has to be completely beyond the reach of the local population and begin to fight for and to celebrate the character of East London, keeping it as primarily an ethnically diverse working class community. Apparently, one argument put forward by a council representative was that Newham needs this expensive housing in order to ‘attract new talent’. Clearly, he does not think much of the local people and it seems as if this is another step towards social cleansing. That doesn’t meant there should not be new residents in the area, but not at the expense of those already here.
The next issue of the Howler will examine Galliard’s record as well as provide info on the fightback that is beginning to take off.