Archive for the ‘Affordable housing’ Category

There has been much talk locally and in the press about the lack of affordable housing. This is one of the particular objections to the planning application often vociferously voiced by Labour councillor Sean Fitzsimons who states that there is insufficient affordable housing.

 The affordable housing will be situated on the old Cherry Orchard Gardens mansion site. It is worth remembering Cherry Orchard Gardens provided only 48 social housing flats, many of which suffered from serious condensation problems, unkept communal areas and poor accommodation. It provided unacceptable living conditions and former residents were keen to be re-located. The flats remained abandoned from 2006.

Gardens overlooked by balconies and windows

Gardens and balconies to rear of affordable housing

The new plan provides 72 new affordable homes, 24 more than existed before. This is has never been highlighted by councillor Sean Fitzsimons. Furthermore, the quality of the accommodation will be vastly improved, with many of the homes having their own private balconies and twin aspects to allow as much natural sunlight into the accommodation. As with the residential tower, providing a strong sense of community is also a priority within the affordable housing block. The roofs will be dedicated to the exclusive use of the residents, with roof-top gardens and allotments for them to enjoy collectively as well as the communal green spaces and play areas which have been designed for the rear of the building.

Affordable housing is not always designed with quality of life and community in mind. Often seen by some developers as merely a requirement to fulfil legal requirements on larger private residential projects, affordable housing can be cramped, poorly designed, unimaginative and unattractive or, indeed, hidden away in areas where land values are cheaper. This is partly why they are sometimes perceived as ghettos which, once the association is made, compounds the matter and they deteriorate further with even the people living there having a contempt for where they live.

People can be suspicious of affordable housing for these reasons, wanting to safeguard against what may be seen as potential slums arising in their own neighbourhoods. It would be fair to state that locally not everyone has been keen that this planning application includes any affordable housing, let alone as many as 72 new affordable homes. Residents have stated to us that the roads in which they live can sometimes be blighted by several affordable, social or housing association residents having a disregard for their own environment and ruining the appeal of the whole area. Some fear that Addiscombe, in the past five years, has had a dramatic increase in the accommodation of affordable or supported housing and that the area has suffered because of this.

On balance, Residents for Regeneration feel confident that the quality of architectural design and living accommodation and, indeed,  number of affordable housing homes proposed by Menta is pitched perfectly, aimed to provide homes people will enjoy occupying, respect and feel part of the wider inclusive community of Addiscombe.


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