Well, that’s giving in a taking sort of way really. I must thank @TanyaSmith67 for bringing this matter to my attention, it had completely passed me by. I’ll stop writing about it just as soon as Boris and co let me, honest I will.
Not content with selling off huge chunks of the Met’ s Estate (and I know there are those of you out there who aren’t quite as outraged as us at Angry Towers) but Boris’ deputy, Steve Greenhalgh, has found himself another controversy to get involved in.
Being in charge of the MOPAC/MPS estates strategy, Greenhalgh has endorsed, if not decided upon,.the sale of certain properties within the estate deemed ‘Surplus to Requirements’. Last week, a mayoral press release said Greenhalgh had “intervened” to stop the sale of the Raynesfield homes in Raynes Park, “I was not happy with how they had been treated,” said Greenhalgh of Raynesfield’s residents. “I was not prepared to see key workers like nurses, carers and teachers forced to move out of their homes.” In August it had been reported that “Nurses and school workers facing eviction from their police-owned homes say they are being “cleansed” from the borough due to a lack of affordable housing.
Key workers living at Raynesfield in Raynes Park and 30 Griffiths Road in Wimbledon will be evicted from their flats by the end of the year after the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) sold the land. The sale forms part of Boris Johnson’s long-term estate strategy to sell off properties and invest profits back into frontline policing.
Residents of the two estates, mostly on low salaries, will now have to leave the borough because they neither earn enough to rent privately nor meet criteria to qualify for social housing.”
Well, I have to say that I was completely unaware that the Met owned residential properties that were rented out to others, I was only aware of the Section Houses and Married Quarters. Presumably these are ex Married Quarters that have been vacated by the officers, under whatever circumstances, and put onto the rental market. What do other Forces do?
The same thing happened in Hammersmith, where MOPAC owns a block of flats called Broadmead. Greenhalgh said he had been “very shocked” to learn that Broadmead’s residents might be turfed out and that he’d discovered this “all because” Tory councillors in his old borough had brought the tenants’ situation to his notice.
So I’m beginning to see the pattern now, Greenhalgh decides to sell off the Met-owned residential properties, that are now managed by a Housing Association and occupied by key workers or others on low income. Then, when he hears that they residents are to be displaced (whatever did he think was going to happen to them?) he steps in top prevent it and everybody hails him as a hero.
Apparently Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh still wants those homes sold, but says this will now only happen if the new owner can offer existing tenants “similar or better terms” than they presently enjoy, ensuring that they can afford to stay, rather than selling the sites vacant on the open market for as much money as possible.
So what is he playing at? I seen to recall that his political career has been dogged by controversy of one kind or another, and nothing seems to have changed. He now seems to be quite happy to put people in fear of being evicted from their reasonably priced homes, then mounting his blue stallion and charging in to save them from the fate that he himself had instigated.
Or is that just the jaundiced view of a cynical duffer?