We need new homes for those left languishing on council housing waiting lists, who fear they may be stuck in expensive, and in many cases low quality, private housing forever.
And we desperately need new homes for people trying and failing to get on the property ladder, losing anywhere from a third to over half their salaries on rent. But as long as development on the green belt is held back – with all the arguments for and against – the only way for London to grow is up.
High-rise and high-density developments, however, bring other problems.
An appeal decision on proposals for ‘Camberwell Union’ – a new neighbourhood near Burgess Park rejected by the council – could set a precedent for regeneration projects elsewhere.
The question really being asked is – what makes a good home? And are we willing to sacrifice all the things we need to create a great place to live, in the pursuit of cramming more new homes into the same space?
New homes are coming, including in developments like the Canada Water masterplan, and some will be car-free. But in many areas transport isn’t improving – buses are being cut, the Bakerloo line extension is far off, and doesn’t affect people living on the other side of Burgess Park. Creating a community is about more than just building as many houses as possible.
The results of the appeal will certainly be eagerly anticipated by other campaigners in Old Kent Road and Elephant and Castle – as well as those most affected in Camberwell.