Examination of Witnesses(Questions 40-42)|
TUESDAY 15 OCTOBER 2002
40. Could you let us have a note on that?
(Councillor Keith) Yes.
41. We all know that when we embarked on a massive
social house-building programme in the 1960s and 1970s, lots of
mistakes were made, such as high-rise blocks and so on. My concern
about finding the numbers you are talking about and the kind of
resources you require or that you are asking for from government
to provide a lot more social housing is are we not going to repeat
the same mistakes in the future? Can you assure the Committee
that lessons have been learnt and that the kind of units you would
be erecting would be high-quality housing and people would actually
want to live there not just for five years but for 25 years?
(Councillor Keith) I think that is a question which
almost needs to bounce back to national legislation. I think it
is an absolutely fair question, but I think it is also something
that many of the registered social landlords, who will be the
major players in this, need to answer and it is a question which
also potentially triggers off debates about the quality of new
build within an urban renaissance and thinking back to issues
of Parker Morris standards and so on which opens up another debate
which I think is a very important debate, but maybe not one to
capture in two sentences. I do not think it is one that you could
expect again a single authority or a single social landlord to
respond to, but I do think it is or it should be encumbent if
those resources are made available that the quality is radically
different from what we saw in the 1960s and 1970s.
42. Can I press you on the question of not the
building standards, but the money there to provide communal services.
With most of the lofts that have been converted within Tower Hamlets,
you will find that service charges are running at anything up
to £80 a month or even higher. Now, if you are on a middle-class
income, that may be affordable, but for most of the people we
are talking about with affordable housing, is there really going
to be enough money for the caretaking and the looking after of
high-density living in Tower Hamlets?
(Councillor Keith) I think there are examples of high-density
new build, stuff Piers Goff has done recently in Scotland, where
you can get high density and affordability. I think it raises
major questions of design as much as major questions as to the
Chairman: I think we can leave it at that. Thank
you very much for your evidence.