By Alice Johnston and Tom Witherow
Residents of Hackney Wick have questioned the value of the Olympic legacy as hopes of cheap housing at the Wallis Road development were recently dashed.
A councillor has raised concerns that not one of the 121 houses planned will be affordable.
The original planning application made no allowance for affordable housing. Hackney Council, neutered by central government legislation, is powerless to act.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) planning committee will meet next Tuesday to negotiate. If the number of cheap houses can’t be negotiated, it will be another battle blow in Hackney’s housing crisis. Rent prices around the flagship Wick overground station development will be forced up.
Nick Sharman, councillor for Hackney Wick, said he will argue for “a stronger steer” from the LLDC.
“There should be a stronger indication of what we will get from officers,” he said, adding that he believes the site will set a precedent for legacy developments.
He says residents need more transparency on how the process is conducted. “I do think it is ridiculous. How you calculate the affordability of a site is so biased.
“I think it is a licence to make money. What I think 50 per cent is appropriate – that was the original the DLA direction. I don’t think that is ‘pie in the sky’ in the context of London property prices.”
The development will bring jobs and shops to the area, but locals have raised concerns that they will be priced out.
Meanwhile, the council announced a promise last week to build 3,000 new homes before 2018, but refused to state whether any would be affordable.
We asked some locals what they think of the situation…
Louisa Oxland, 21, student at Queen Mary University of London
“I think all housing should be affordable. The legacy of the Olympics and the park means that the council has a responsibility to provide the people of Hackney with affordable rents, especial given the amount of construction work that’s gone on here since 2012.”
Les, born and bred in Stratford, 54, retired
“Hackney’s gone to pot since I was a boy. If had more money I wouldn’t live here any more, I’d move out of the capital. The young people don’t bring anything worthwhile to Hackney and I don’t think they deserve affordable housing so they can continue to drive the long time residents out.”
Sophia Dickson, 24, administrator at the University of London
“I first moved to London eight months ago and at first I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford to stay here. The rents are expensive everywhere, even in Hackney where you think they might be less. It’s only because my dad has a flat that I’m able to live here at all – I sleep on his living room sofa. If it wasn’t for him I would have to move out of London.”