Advanced search

George Clarkes Council House Scandal

(145 Posts)
HelenaDove Wed 24-Jul-19 22:22:39

31 July on Channel 4

As council housing in the UK reaches its 100th anniversary, George Clarke embarks on his own personal campaign to kick start a new wave of council house building. A child of a council estate, Clarke looks at the reasons for the steep decline in affordable public housing, and meets those who have suffered due to the acute shortage of homes. In a bid to realise his own ambition to create social housing of quantity, and quality, he meets visionary architects of the past, and visits the best and worst examples of housing currently on offer. A trip to Vienna, where social housing can come with indoor and outdoor pools, proves inspirational for his housing vision for the future. George lobbies government to reform housing policy, before taking matters into his own hands in a bid to start a housing revolution. Prod Co: Amazing Productions

on next Wednesday

Monsterinmypocket Wed 24-Jul-19 22:39:33

Thanks. Will definitely be watching. Although I am intrigued to see what the housing revolution is. Is he the new Jamie Oliver of housing?

HelenaDove Wed 24-Jul-19 23:09:15

Hopefully he will cover some of the issues John Boughton has in his book. Municipal Dreams

John Boughton (author of Municipal Dreams The Rise and Fall of Council Housing) on the welfarisation of council housing.

Inthe 1980s, residualisation may have been a partly unintended consequence of housing policies pursued with varying ideological intent

Since 2010, and more so since the return of single-party Conservative government in 2015, we’ve seen something further: welfarisation – ‘a conception of social housing as a very small, highly residualised sector catering only for the very poorest, and those with additional social “vulnerabilities”, on a short-term “ambulance” basis

HelenaDove Fri 26-Jul-19 15:04:18

Housing association nails tenants windows shut during heatwave

Magmatic80 Sat 27-Jul-19 06:23:35

There’s an article about this in this week’s radio times, looking forward to it

HelenaDove Sat 27-Jul-19 23:52:32

HelenaDove Sun 28-Jul-19 00:26:00

How the Balfron Tower tenants were "decanted" and lost their homes.

JoxerGoesToStuttgart Sun 28-Jul-19 00:30:57

Thanks Helena. I’ll be watching. Unfortunately I think George is on a hiding to nothing, particularly with Bojo at the helm. Social housing is nowhere near the top of their agenda now.

Cosentyx Sun 28-Jul-19 00:45:25

So many now believe council housing should only be temporary and for the utterly desperate it's no wonder no need council housing is being built.

HelenaDove Sun 28-Jul-19 00:49:13

@Cosentyx i know I didnt realize there was proper terminology for it until i read John Boughtons book (im still reading it tbh)

Residulisation and welfarisation.

HelenaDove Sun 28-Jul-19 00:49:52

Joxer Sadly i agree.

HelenaDove Mon 29-Jul-19 19:45:58

The Addison Act. 100 years of council housing.

Barbarafromblackpool Mon 29-Jul-19 19:54:02

Really good documentary .

stumbledin Tue 30-Jul-19 00:04:14

I was intending to watch this but through gritted teeth as I find George Clarke really interesting. In fact there was a very similar programme with that posh one who does incredible designs or whatever. They built a small estate to show how it could be done.

Very puzzled by the quote from the book, as part of Thatcher's asset stripping of local councils through the sale of council housing was not just about home ownership being aspirational to but to under cut the socialist principles, started after WWI of providing "homes fit for heros" and an acknowledgement that many local authorities relied on cheaper council housing to many core workers, police, fire fighters, nurses, who were on low salaries. Along with the actually sell of there was an intense change in media coverage from council housing being people homes, even the inventive pre fabs post WWII, to council estates only being for people who were socially deficient.

The worse thing is that this attitude has rubbed off on those who grew up in that time and didn't have the earlier experience of the pride in council housing, and they are the ones working in HAs etc., and treat tenants as second class citizens.

The sale of council housing started by Thatcher and continues by Blair, with the punitive regulation of not allowing the proceeds to be reinvested in housing, has been one of the biggest contributions to the growing divide in UK society.

Ihatesundays Tue 30-Jul-19 00:09:32

It’s not going to happen. Councils have been cut to the bone. It’s not just the building that’s the issue but the constant up keep.

I live near an estate that has a lot of HA properties and the way the tenants treat them is appalling. One recently has been gutted and redecorated throughout to make it habitable. I know this isn’t true everywhere and with every house but it’s a cost they are all aware of and makes it an unpalatable option.

stumbledin Tue 30-Jul-19 00:11:15

Have you seen this campaign started by young mothers in east London

Some previous films on this and

howwudufeel Tue 30-Jul-19 00:14:53

Liverpool City Council have promised to build council housing. If they can do every LA should be able to do it too.

stumbledin Tue 30-Jul-19 00:24:36

Some tenants whether private or HA will always be destructive.

The problem is that housing estates a bit like bed blocking in hospitals are used as dumping grounds for people who should be in some sort of support situation. And many HAs are now run as though private corporations and so, a bit like G47, take on contracts to do work they have no training for, including running refuges.

The cost of upkeep, particularly if you have in house support services isn't the problem. It is the restrictive regulations bought in by Thatcher that are hamstringing LAs.

Some local councils are looking into setting up private housing companies because in the long run it is cheaper for them to be running their own housing instead of giving inflated HB rents to private landlords who give nothing back.

HelenaDove Tue 30-Jul-19 00:27:28

@stumbledin the regeneration schemes and stock transfers also caused many council dwellings to be lost.

its not always the tenants who leave the gardens in a state.
Ive just messaged a tenant who has half a bathroom across her front lawn. Workmen left the job including sharp tools in her bathroom so she thought they had just nipped out and were coming back They didnt.

It was Liverpool who got streets ahead (pardon the pun) when council housing was started after the Victorian slum clearance There is so much more in the book than the snippet here. Ive had to read chapters more than once as there is a lot to take in.

The regeneration schemes of the 80s/90s/2000s were aimed at creating mixed tenure estates. They thought it would have a trickle up effect. There was also talk of reducing poverty but in practice that meant the removal of poorer people from some estates.

PickAChew Tue 30-Jul-19 00:30:15

Some tenants whether private or HA will always be destructive. quite that's an issue with such vulnerable tenants. The skill is in distinguishing the incorrigible piss tajers from those who really benefit

PickAChew Tue 30-Jul-19 00:31:43

The piss takers will fail 8n private tenancies, too.

HelenaDove Tue 30-Jul-19 00:37:02

@stumbledin a few days back i found a thread discussing the closure of hostels. While i was looking for something else Cant find it again now even with specific words being used.

HelenaDove Tue 30-Jul-19 00:42:19

But why are we defining tenants as vulnerable Its a bit patronizing for those of us that arent. That just

There is a rather disturbing rhetoric and hierarchy that has developed here. There are even lavish awards ceremonies for "Housing Heroes" now so the people that work in it are seen as heroes while those that rent from them are seen as vulnerable.

HelenaDove Tue 30-Jul-19 01:07:49

HelenaDove Tue 30-Jul-19 01:16:26

From two years ago
Add message | Report | Message poster
HelenaDove Mon 31-Jul-17 18:37:13

"On Sunday evening I sat outside a pub in west London with a group of women, some of whom were crying. A man on a nearby table asked us why we were there, presuming a birthday party gone wrong, or a messy breakup had led to the scene. We were vague and cagey with our answer: “We live in a domestic violence refuge and we’re facing immediate homelessness and danger, so called a journalist for help” isn’t generally a great conversation starter.

Just after midnight that morning, the ceiling had collapsed in one woman’s bedroom: mercifully, she was visiting friends that night. The fact she has a condition that puts her at high risk of a heart attack doesn’t bear thinking about. For two weeks prior in the refuge, the sprinkler system had been leaking heavily: the women showed me the flooding they endured – ankle deep in some bedrooms, and wallpaper bulging with stale water.

Finally, the leak caused the ceiling to fall in. They rang the fire brigade and the housing association that owns the house and the charity that runs the shelter service. When the emergency services arrived, a firefighter told them that if anyone turned on the power, the entire building would go up in flames. Removing a plug from the wall, he swore as water poured from the socket. They were left with torches and barely managed to sleep: seven women, and six children between the ages of two and seven, crowded into the communal living room.

Their children are in play schemes in west London, where they’re building confidence after fleeing abuse and violence
Then matters worsened. The women were phoned individually by the housing association and told they’d be put in temporary accommodation – with no guarantee of when they would return – in Barking, 15 miles away: an hour away on public transport, even though the women’s doctors, counsellors, key workers and friends are all in west London. The children are in play schemes in west London, where they’re building confidence and making friends after fleeing abuse and violence. But worse: some of the women have ex-partners in Barking and east London, men who have told them that if they ever saw them again, they would murder them. One of the mothers was promised that if her husband ever had the opportunity he’d lock her and her son in the house and burn it to the ground.

Understandably terrified, they all refused, and were told there would be nothing else offered. By doing this, they were putting themselves at risk of being declared “intentionally homeless”, meaning they would be out on the streets with the housing association refusing to help.

The women are all intelligent, articulate, educated and speak multiple languages: model citizens on paper to the current government. And yet, because of their situation, they felt they were “scrabbling in the dirt, at the bottom of society”. They repeatedly said they felt like dirt, telling me I was wrong when I objected to them describing themselves as “scum”. They were treated as such by a system that bullies and harasses them and puts them in danger. Time and again I’ve heard near-identical tales of people having their humanity, dignity and worth stripped away due to homelessness and fleeing violence. Needing housing makes you extremely vulnerable: too often, being in need and having to rely on councils, housing associations and shelters in turn means you are treated like a criminal.

'It’s social cleansing': the 93-year-old fighting east London demolitions
Read more
The women lived in the same borough Grenfell Tower stands: to reach them, my bus had to pass the blackened shell. For a period it felt as though the tragedy had heightened public understanding of why housing is genuinely a life or death issue and brought shame on the nation, that we fail some of our most vulnerable time and again.

But the same situation continues to play out time and again: these women were at risk in the house, and at risk in the far-flung accommodation they’d been offered. Desperate to stay together in the small friendship group they’d forged, they had decided to fight: many others would have accepted the offer, and been placed in danger as a result.

With press attention, advice from lawyers who gave their time for free on Sunday night, and pressure from the MP Jess Phillips, whose experience in the domestic violence sector was invaluable, we were able to get assurances that the women would be housed locally until repairs are completed. But for every one of these experiences, many people won’t have a happy ending. Grenfell Tower should have shocked us into treating people with empathy, compassion and care when they’re homeless or in danger: instead, it looks like business as usual.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »