Blacks-only housing brings ghetto fears

A HOUSING development specifically for black tenants has been built on the Isle of Dogs in east London, creating fears of a ghetto in an area where a British National Party councillor was elected last year.

Housing, more particularly the lack of affordable rented accommodation, was blamed for much of the underlying tension which led to the by-election victory of Derek Beackon in the Millwall ward in September.

There are fears that the development, of 14 two- and three-bedroom houses and flats will fuel racial tension before the May elections.

Ted Johns, one of two Labour councillors for the Millwall ward, said: 'People see this new development being built and then they find that it's actually homes for rent, but then they're told that it's only for black families. You can understand their frustration.'

The co-operative behind the development, La Caye, is one of 63 housing associations for black people in Britain. Two years ago, the Housing Corporation announced it would provide pounds 750m for associations set up for ethnic minorities.

Debbie Noel, a member of the La Caye co-operative, says that although tenants have been told about the situation she 'does not envisage any problems'. 'This man (Mr Beackon) is only one councillor. Why should he affect where people live?' she said.

The fact that the new tenants are all former Tower Hamlets council residents has not been widely publicised.

Mr Beackon said: 'Perhaps in May, when we get three councillors elected for this area, we can start building places and putting local people first. The council are just making the situation worse for themselves.'

Resentment over housing has been brewing on the Isle of Dogs since the Government declared it an Enterprise Zone and set up the London Docklands Development Corporation to regenerate the area in 1981. Few of the homes built were for local people.

Peter Hughes, the Liberal Democrat leader of Tower Hamlets Council, said: 'Projects which are seen to be providing a service for one ethnic group create tension in the area around it. We want to ensure that housing is for everyone.' But he added: 'If one ethnic group wants to develop housing for themselves then good luck to them.'

Housing allocation in Tower Hamlets has been severely criticised by the Campaign for Racial Equality in the past. In 1991 the council was forced by the threat of High Court action to end alleged racist policies.

One young mother living in the development, who refused to be named, said that she had been worried about the move and had even considered keeping her three young children indoors after school hours.

The youngest, aged two, suffers from an illness which makes mobility difficult.

From behind the 6ft fence and security system outside her home, she said: 'Just look at this house . . . I wouldn't have been offered anything like this for a very long time.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy