Advertiser letters: Housing promises and Brexit

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie Morton - Credit: Archant

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

What we need is fewer conferences and more action

Imran Khan, full address supplied, writes:

I read with interest the article in your last issue "Londoners' needs should be at the heart of solving the housing crisis" and wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

The article related to a meeting on housing, yes another one, convened by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and was apparently convened to see that the "needs of Londoners must not be lost in the quest to solve the housing crisis".

This last statement was just one of the pieces of gobblygook that was apparently spouted and was among the more easily understood.

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What happened at the inaugural Homes for Londoners which took place at a conference centre at The Royal Docks was that 400 people came together to be told that there was a housing crisis and that something has to be done about!

In case the message didn't get through there are two more planned, later this year the National Housing Federation will have a London Development Conference and Exhibition and next year in Manchester there will be, wait for it, Housing 2020.

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Every year it seems there are more and more housing conferences, google them, where the great and the good and the not so good come together to talk about the housing crisis.

And when they have finished they all agree to meet again soon to have another conference to talk about, yes you've guessed it, the housing crisis.

Yet under the noses of the distinguished delegates lies the answer, or a very large part of it, to the problem they were discussing, land. And land that is already in public ownership.

I became aware of this when I read the website of a former Tower Hamlets Council leader Helal Abbas In an article "Small is Beautiful" he lays out plans to identify thousands of plots of land that are already in council ownership but which because of the grandiose plans of politicians and developers are ignored.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that in the area of east London covered by the Archant group there is already enough publicly owned land to build a substantial proportion of the thousands of homes needed.

What is needed from the politicians is less talk, fewer conferences and more action.

A start would be to enlist the likes of Abbas Uddin to start the process of identifying all of the land that he describes and that doesn't mean having another conference. What Sadiq Khan should do, and let's start in east London, is an authority to without delay carry out ward by ward surveys and then authorise schemes. Let us declare the conference season over.

Now we know what Brexit looks like

Alan Benbow, Poplar and Limehouse, writes:

On June 23, 2016, I voted to leave the European Union. I believed the slogans and pledges dished out by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, and I believed we would prosper outside the EU. They convinced me it would be 'the easiest deal in history' and that the EU 'needed us more than we needed them'. I was a leaver but, three-and-a-half years on, I am a Remainer now.

Having watched as promise after promise made during the 2016 campaign fell by the wayside, I can now see that the best deal on offer is the one we currently have, our deal with the EU.

Now we know what Brexit really looks like, we must take the only sensible way out, and that is to offer the people a final say. We have been silenced for too long, and research by Pro-EU groups such as Best for Britain shows that I am not the only one to have changed my mind.

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