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Tower Hamlets fails to reach 3-year 'new homes' target in housing crisis

PUBLISHED: 11:40 05 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:02 05 June 2015

Candidates for mayor lined up for BBC radio showdown [photo: Mike Brooke]

Candidates for mayor lined up for BBC radio showdown [photo: Mike Brooke]

Archant

Only six-out-of-10 new homes are getting off the ground in London’s overcrowded East End which has failed to reach its target for new family social housing.

The candidates on BBC London's drive-time show with presenter Eddie Nestor (inset) broadcast live from Bethnal GreenThe candidates on BBC London's drive-time show with presenter Eddie Nestor (inset) broadcast live from Bethnal Green

The shock findings have been revealed in a survey out this-morning, with housing has now the main issue in the final days of the re-run election for Mayor of Tower Hamlets next Thursday.

The survey findings coincide with last night’s live hustings broadcast on BBC London coming from Bethnal Green with eight of the 10 candidates for mayor.

Just 63 per cent of homes promised were actually completed in Tower Hamlets between 2010 and 2013, the survey by London First business group reveals.

Only 5,467 tenants got the keys to their new front-doors, instead of the intended 8,655—despite massive regeneration projects under way like Stepney’s Ocean estate and Poplar’s Blackwall Reach.

Tower Hamlets was among half the London boroughs which have failed to hit targets, according to London First.

“Politicians make grand gestures about housing,” London First chief executive Baroness Jo Valentine said.

“But most lack the responsibility and accountability for making this happen.

“There is a yawning gap between political rhetoric about getting homes built and how many are actually completed.”

The figures have added fuel to campaigns by the rival candidates for Mayor of Tower Hamlets across the political spectrum. Most are pushing manifestos promising more social housing to ease the East End’s chronic housing crisis, with 22,000 families still on the waiting list.

Next Thursday’s election re-run has been caused by the High Court declaring the 2014 polls void which returned Lutfur Rahman for his second term, and barring him from office for five years. Rahman was Mayor between 2010 and 2013 during the period covered by the housing target survey.

Neighbouring Hackney, by contrast, shot past its 3,480 homes target in that three-year period, completing 107pc of its intention, the study found. The City also did well, with 436 new homes in the Square Mile—132pc more than its target.

But further east, Newham did even worst than Tower Hamlets, completing only four-out-of-10 homes it had planned.

The study calls for City Hall to have a discretionary power to determine all planning applications for 50 homes or more if any local authority fails to reach its annual average target over three years.

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LIST OF CANDIDATES for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, June 11:

John Biggs – Labour, re-elected London Assembly’s budget chairman, represents east London at City Hall, former leader of Tower Hamlets Council.

Rabina Khan – Independent, ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s former ‘Tower Hamlets First’ administration, cabinet member for housing, represents Shadwell, defected from Labour to join Rahman.

Peter Golds – Conservative, Tory Group opposition leader on Tower Hamlets Council, represents Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs.

Andy Erlam – Red Flag Anti-Corruption, took Lutfur Rahman to the High Court for election malpractice.

Nicholas McQueen – Ukip, came third in General Election for Poplar & Limehouse.

John Foster – Green, journalist, former Parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green & Bow in 2010.

Elaine Bagshaw – Liberal Democrat, a regulator with the Financial Conduct Authority in Canary Wharf.

Vanessa Hudson – Animal Welfare.

Hafiz Kadir – Independent.

Motiur Nanu – Independent.

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