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Hidden homeless investigation: Havering’s MPs react – it is an injustice

PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:12 27 April 2018

The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Andrew Rosindell ( Romford )

The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Andrew Rosindell ( Romford )

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For our special series of reports, Emma Youle speaks to Havering’s MPs about the borough’s hidden homeless.

Jon Cruddas.Jon Cruddas.

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford

It is certainly an injustice that over 700 households are currently in temporary accommodation in the borough.

Local authorities do have a duty to secure accommodation for unintentionally homeless households who fall into a “priority need”, but there are clearly issues with the amount of housing stock.

I would like to express my sympathies to these residents.

While I am glad to see we are improving our transport links and making Romford a more attractive place to live, it is clear Crossrail is having an adverse effect on the private rented sector.

That is why Havering Council has made housing a key factor in our town’s regeneration plan. Over 3,500 new homes are being built in Havering over the next 10 years. Most of these new builds will be for rent, and some will come under low cost home ownership.

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham

It’s clear there is a need for housing, but the right sort of housing. It’s no good building another Orchard Village [a problem-ridden social housing estate in Rainham], and it’s no good selling off huge swathes of green belt to developers.

The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Julia Dockerill ( Hornchurch and Upminster )The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Julia Dockerill ( Hornchurch and Upminster )

We know from experience that many new properties are aimed at commuting city workers – completely out of reach for local residents, doing little if anything to alleviate the housing pressures.

Unfortunately it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that so many people are living in temporary accommodation in Havering, and my casework reflects this. The issue is one of affordability.

In my opinion Havering, along with other London boroughs, needS to embark on a truly affordable development programme that prioritises the growth of existing communities. Current plans to dump 30,000 properties on Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park couldn’t be further from what local residents need.

Julia Dockerill, Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminster

We have seen substantial migration from inner London to Havering in recent years because of the comparatively competitive rent levels.

As a result, rents have gone up substantially due to market pressures, leaving a portion of private rented tenants unable to pay and requiring council assistance with their accommodation.

Meanwhile, a number of our estates have been marked for regeneration and families have been temporarily accommodated while that work is under way.

The draft Local Plan for the borough is to be published before the end of the month, and this looks at how the council can best accommodate the ambitious housing targets set by the government while protecting the green belt and ensuring services are in place to cater to an increased population.

Since becoming an MP, I have been working closely with the council’s leadership to ensure any difficult housing cases, particularly those of young families in overcrowded accommodation, are dealt with as a matter of urgency.

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