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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 16 July 2009
Facts about programme to improve housing

• WE are sure you will want your readers to know the facts about the Decent Homes programme to improve the lives of 50,000 of our Camden residents, and the small proportion of our properties – at most just two in every hundred – we are selling to make those improvements possible. Selling because the Labour government have year after year refused Camden tenants the money they should have received to improve their homes.
You say “Every estate on warpath over homes sales” (July 9) but in fact you quote residents as saying “It’s all right to sell off some properties”, “They should be offering a fixed price” and”‘If they are going to use the money to restore the bulk of the properties then you could say it was OK”.
The fact is that using this money to restore the bulk of our properties is exactly what we are doing. Camden has nearly 24,000 council homes, but Labour left 15,000 of these unmodernised, needing important works to their wiring, their heating, their kitchens and bathrooms. In neighbouring Westminster and Brent, however, the councils have got all their homes up to standard.
Fifteen thousand council homes is one in six of the borough’s homes as a whole. That means some 50,000 Camden residents waking up every day in out-of-date homes, 50,000 children, families, elderly. It’s important to those people and it’s important to the whole borough.
The fact is that the Labour government withdrew the £283million they’d promised for our sub-standard homes, after tenants in 2004 voted against their arms-length management organisation terms (Almo), and Labour in Camden did nothing to fix those homes, but sat on its hands and waited for government help that never came.
But five years since that Almo vote the Labour government has still not relented, they’re now at last finding money to build new homes, but despite repeated requests from us Labour are still not giving more money to fix existing stock, and so we’ve had to raise funds in other ways.
We have promised to get on with Decent Homes. Our residents have waited too long. And so that is what we have been doing. After the independent survey in 2007 we started on site in late 2008 and by the end of summer 2009 we will have completed 2,300 Decent Homes.
Yes, we have now sold 24 empty properties from our general stock that we can’t afford to repair, and we have sold some other commercial and “short life” properties too. But this has already raised a much-needed £25million towards our £110million target. The total number of properties we plan to sell is at most two in every hundred, mainly properties which we couldn’t afford to repair, and would just have lain empty.
When we invited tenants’ views in 2007 the majority of those who responded supported the programme we are now putting into place. In that consultation we promised to build back one new home for every hard-to-repair old home that we sold, and that is what we will do.
In fact we are just agreeing funding for several hundred new homes, and existing Camden Council tenants will get the first call.
We are proud to be taking action both to bring all our housing up to the Decent Homes standard and at the same time creating new housing in Camden.
Cllr Keith Moffitt
Cllr Chris Naylor
Executive Member for Homes and Housing Strategy

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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