Redbridge council leader backs community housing
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:00 04 February 2016
The leader of the council believes there is potential for community-owned housing to work in Redbridge after visiting a similar scheme in Tower Hamlets.
Cllr Jas Athwal was invited by charity Redbridge Citizens to visit a Community Land Trust (CLT) in Mile End, a site where affordable housing will be built for people with close ties to the area.
CLTs are organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes, workspaces and other community assets.
Following the visit, Cllr Athwal said he was looking at how the initiative could be replicated closer to home.
He said: “The space is a great community project and I am in discussions about how to do it in Redbridge.
“The Mile End CLT is only a small patch, but from small acorns grow mighty oak trees,” he said.
With house prices and rents spiralling, CLTs set out to permanently provide affordable housing by ensuring residents are no longer priced out of the areas they grew up in.
In November, the Fairness Commission recommended two CLT sites should be set up in Redbridge and the cabinet will decide on this proposal in March.
Redbridge Citizens and John Clifton, from Ilford Salvation Army, have been campaigning for CLTs in the borough and Cllr Athwal said he would like to work “hand in hand” with these groups and individuals to make it happen.
“All the great work they do for the community is really admirable,” he said.
“We want to get regeneration on the agenda and we certainly want to work with John and the team – they have a great sense of community spirit.”
The leader said more time needs to be devoted to CLTs as although the concept might not be new, putting it into practice is.
He added: “These ideas haven’t been done in the past and we need to look at how to do it – once the blueprints are done then we can look forward.”
Mr Clifton added: “It is wonderful and encouraging to hear the leader say CLTs work and we are looking forward to him attending our next meeting on February 22 and planning where it can be done in the Ilford housing zone.”
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