Caritas Anchor House

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Caritas Anchor House campaigns successfully for affordable housing

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Caritas Anchor House campaigns successfully for affordable housing

14th April 2016
Following 12 months of campaigning by Caritas Anchor House and other organisations, it has been announced that the Boleyn Ground development will invest £90million in affordable housing. This means that at least 25% of its accommodation will be made up of affordable homes.

The Boleyn Ground is the former home of West Ham United, who agreed to sell the ground to the Galliard Group in 2014 for development. However, initial plans submitted showed that of the 838 units, only 51 or 6%, would be affordable and none were to be social housing.

There is an acute need for affordable housing in Newham, and following this announcement Caritas Anchor was vocal in its opposition to the plans. Over the past year, we have worked alongside organisations such as Newham Citizens and community groups and schools to encourage Newham Council to increase the levels of affordable housing. We have spoken at Planning Committee meetings and raised awareness of the issue locally. Our residents have played a key role in our campaign work, and have attended numerous events representing Caritas Anchor House. 

The Newham Council Planning Committee voted in favour of 25% affordable housing from the developer, which equates to 211 homes out of 842 planned for the site. Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has also announced his intention to invest an additional £18million in affordable homes for the site, which will provide a further 10% of affordable homes. 1-2 bed homes will be available for rent at 70% of market rate, and 3-bedroom homes at 50% of market rent.

Newham has the highest level of overcrowding in the UK, with around a quarter of the borough’s 100,000 households living in a property which is too small for them, whilst as of August 2015, there were a total of 15,721 applicants on Newham’s waiting list for social housing. More than 2,918 of those had been waiting for more than a decade for a house, with 3,370 waiting for between five and 10 years after applying for housing.

Speaking of the campaign’s success, Caritas Anchor House Chief Executive, Keith Fernett, said, “This goes to show we are stronger when we work together. Although I am disappointed the investment was not in social housing, investing £90million in affordable housing is a step in the right direction, especially given the fact so little affordable housing was first offered. I have been particularly proud of our residents who have been involved in this campaign – it was great to see them engage in issues affecting our community.”

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