There is a housing crisis in Camden, with prices soaring and supply of new homes woefully low. Camden has built just 1,820 net new homes in the last four years: fewer than any neighbouring borough.
Indeed, Conservative-run Westminster has built 50% more homes than Labour-run Camden, while Conservative-run Barnet has built THREE TIMES as many as Camden: the most of any London borough.
What’s even worse for Camden are the numbers for affordable housing being built. The cornerstone of Labour’s campaign in 2014 was to promise to build 6,000 new homes by 2018 – half of them affordable.
Well, the 6,000 number is clearly not going to work out, as that would involve a quadrupling of the rate of construction compared to the last four years.
We asked at Camden Council on Monday how many units approved since election day two years ago were affordable. The answer? A miserable 24%: less than half the proportion promised by Labour. That’s an appalling failure on the most important issue for many Camden residents.
This is made worse by the loss of a huge number of affordable units at sites such as Arthur West House and 29 New End: hurting local conservation AND the supply of housing. Usually, Labour claim there’s a conflict between development and conservation. But actually, as those cases show, there’s not – there’s a conflict between bad developments and conservation.
Labour like to claim that Camden is a house-building borough. Maybe in their minds it is – it certainly needs to be. But so long as Labour are in charge, Camden won’t have a house-building administration.