Tag Archives: McAlpine

H&F Council to build new homes! (But don’t get too excited)

I was reading the local Tory blog, the rather dishonestly titled “Residents First”  (I won’t link to the blog), and was amused to see that the Council is going to build “25 new homes”. Not homes for rent, you understand, but properties to buy.  This is because,

The council announced last year that it would be establishing its own local housing company in order to directly provide new affordable homes for the first time in 30 years to help local residents get onto the property ladder and help create a Borough of Opportunity.

Ah, the “Borough of Opportunity”. It has a nice ring to it. Don’t you agree? Well, no, not when you consider that the opportunities, which the ruling Tory group are alluding to, will go to their chums in the construction industry. Yes friends, it’s opportunity knocks for Wates and McAlpine!

The Tories assure us that other councils are doing the same thing,

Westminster, Islington and Wandsworth Councils are also pursuing similar approaches to better utilising council assets in order to build new affordable housing.

Two of those councils are Tory-controlled and one is Labour-controlled. So what does that tell us? It tells us that lessons haven’t been learnt: not everyone can afford to buy a shoebox flat in a disused health centre; some people prefer to rent and besides, wasn’t the property bubble partly responsible for the economic crisis? Well, they don’t seem to think so. By the way, the government is behind this HomeBuy nonsense.  The government is implacably opposed to the building of more council homes and wants to drive even more people into debt by saddling them with mortgages on properties that, in all likelihood, they will never be able to sell. The government has also reintroduced the disastrous Right to Buy (RTB), which led to the current housing shortage.

While the Tories crow about their fantastic plan to build a mere 25 homes in the borough, council rents have been increased. That old cliché, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” seems eerily apposite.

Housing crisis? What housing crisis? Excuse me while I stick my head in the sand.

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More shady happenings in Hammersmith & Fulham

The Tories who run Hammersmith & Fulham Council are not a democratic bunch. This was amply demonstrated earlier this year when they bulldozed through their plans to close community centres and mass evict over 20 local charities from Palingswick House, which they have given the Hon Tobes West London Free School. These Tories talk about liberty and democratic values but it is nothing but lip service. They work in the interests of themselves and their business partners. They dole out favours to their favourite construction business who, in return, make vast profits for themselves and their shareholders, who are Tories.

The Cowan Report says that

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Conservative Party set up a property speculators forum that “raises around £150,000 a year for the Tory party and charges members £2,500 to meet senior MPs to discuss policy and planning issues.”  It is chaired by Mr. Mike Slade, of Helical Bar Plc. That firm is one of Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s preferred partners behind the highly controversial new Town Hall office plans.
The Telegraph tells how Mr Slade has been a key influence on the Conservative Party’s developing planning policies and how he has also generously “given more than £300,000 over the past decade, individually and through his property firm, Helical Bar.”

You can read the rest of the blog here

Naturally, this should come as no surprise especially when one considers the companies that were given contracts to build private prisons, McAlpine and Mowlem, are massive contributors to the Tory Party. You can read more about those two companies here.

In the aftermath of the worst rioting seen for a generation, it’s surprising that some junior minister or barking mad Tory backbencher didn’t call for the expansion of private prisons. Here’s Moonie Nile Gardiner in the Telegraph calling for more private prisons to be built.

The prime minister should make it clear that no effort will be spared in hunting down the looters/rioters, who must face lengthy prison terms for their crimes. He should also be prepared to build new prisons if necessary to hold them. This is no time for Cameron to go wobbly. Britain is on the precipice of unprecedented levels of public disorder which must be decisively met with a firm determination to quell the riots and bring every one of these violent thugs to justice .

Justice, in Gardiner’s Moonie universe, is for those who can afford it.

The Tories who run Hammersmith & Fulham suffer from the same afflictions as Gardiner: narrow-mindedness, greed and class disgust. Recently, Edith Summerskill House in West Kensington was decanted of its tenants who were told that the block had to be emptied in order for improvements to be carried out. The tenants were not allowed to return and the block was sold off to a private developer. I suspect that this developer has close links to the ruling Tory group, if not the national party. HF Conwatch has the story here. Commenting on the blog, Caroline Ffiske, former Tory councillor, spouse of Foghorn Phibbs and member of the West London Free School steering committee, wrote.

I think its is a wonderful scheme. Apparently it would have cost thousands to bring each of the existing flats up to Decent Homes standards. I think mixed developments are great for the whole community.

Well, she would think that. But, hang on, don’t the funds for the Decent Homes Scheme come from central government? Furthermore, haven’t these funds been allocated for this purpose? By the way, the council also intends to dispose of the Clement Atlee Estate.

Finally, The Cowan Report notes that H&F Council has marked its thirteenth appearance in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column.

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Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham, London