Use this letter to ask your local councillors to demand at least 50% social rent council housing on any development on the Tesco site in Hackney Central and to support Morning Lane People’s Space in campaigning for an open transparent process going forward.
I am a resident in your ward. I write to you regarding future plans for the Tesco site at 55 Morning Lane.
Morning Lane People’s Space have been running a campaign around the proposed development for over 2 years. Throughout this period, they have held public meetings and regularly leafleted outside the store, on local estates and in local businesses. In the process they have talked with thousands of people. Last year the campaign promoted a survey seeking local people’s priorities for the site and received a huge response compared to most community ‘consultation’ exercises. About 1400 people gave feedback, identifying their top priorities for the site as social housing and a large supermarket. The campaigners, harnessing the expressed wishes of the community, are demanding at least 50% council housing at social rent on the site.
I believe this is a very reasonable ‘ask’ given that we are in the midst of a housing emergency and the land in question was paid for by public money. Hackney Council’s stated aim is a fairer, safer and more sustainable borough. Hackney Labour’s manifesto commits to building significantly more social rent homes in this term of office than in recent years. I am therefore dismayed by Mayor Phillip Glanville’s response to the campaign’s demand that it would be ‘almost impossible’ to ensure that half of the homes built will be social housing. If this is the case on a site owned by the Council, then the possibility of ever securing anything approaching the amount of social housing actually needed in the borough looks very grim indeed. Other sites have achieved more social housing in recent years, the Peabody development in the old Holloway Prison in Islington is creating 42% social rent homes and overall, 60% affordable housing,
As Hackney Council have not made their viability study for the Tesco site public, I am therefore requesting your support in finding the answer as to why they cannot provide 50% social rent housing there, instead suggesting 30% ‘affordable’ which is unaffordable to most Hackney residents. It is vital that they publish their viability study so that it can be subjected to scrutiny and so that the planning process is transparent. I also ask you to join the campaign in demanding at least 50% social housing, exploring all avenues such as funding from the Mayor of London. I am aware that the council is looking for a new partner to develop the site now that Hackney Walk have dropped out. I am anxious that the Morning Lane People’s Space campaign group who have championed the voice of the community thus far will be marginalised in the future. I would urge you to support their continued involvement to maintain a democratic, open and transparent development process.
This development and the opportunity it provides to create social housing is a key issue for myself and many local residents. I hope you will make every effort to take this issue up on our behalf and I look forward to your response.