Price rise for 'affordable' housing puts Olympic legacy under threat

East Londoners are promised a 'fair share' of new homes – but only if they earn above £30k

Olympic planners have been warned that they risk "a betrayal" of the east London communities if they do not guarantee local people homes in the regenerated Olympic site.

More than 11,000 new properties will be built on the site of the Olympic Park in the next 20 years but despite assurances that more than a third would be allocated to "affordable housing" there are fears that recent changes to social housing policy will mean that the majority of local people will be frozen out by the high cost.

Baroness Doocey, the Liberal Democrat peer who chaired the London Assembly's Olympics scrutiny panel, said that denying local people "their fair share" of the new homes would "negate the promise that was made when we won the Olympics seven years ago".

Five new neighbourhoods are promised across 558 acres in the London boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. The first set of properties, converted from the flats in the Athletes' Village, will go on sale in little over a year's time. Homes in the first of the five neighbourhoods, Chobham Manor, in the north of the park, will be ready in late 2014.

Despite assurances that thousands of homes would be allocated to social housing, changes to housing policy introduced by the Coalition Government last year mean that subsidised properties can be rented at up to 80 per cent of market rates.

The housing charity Shelter calculates that the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom home in Newham is £953. This means that a two-bedroom property in the new development could be classified as "affordable" if it was advertised to let at £762 a month – beyond the reach of many locals.

"The key thing is that word 'affordable'," said Keith Fernett, a housing expert and director of Anchor House, a homeless skills centre in Newham. "Traditionally 'affordable' meant homes for working-class, low-income people. It has been redefined and now it means affordable for graduates and young professionals. Affordable now means earning £30,000 or more, which is beyond most of the people in the borough. There are 32,000 people on the social housing waiting list here and we don't expect the Olympic Park to make a dent in that."

House prices in the Olympic boroughs are under pressure because of an influx of foreign buyers driving up house prices in central London, which has led to a "tsunami" of buyers and renters driven to the city's outer boroughs, Mr Fernett said.

For local people to be able to benefit, the Government will have to offer subsidies, Lady Doocey said.

The Olympic development, which will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games, will be funded by private investors. The first new development, to be called East Village, made up of 2,818 apartments converted from the Athletes' Village, will open in autumn next year; 1,379 affordable homes will be managed by Triathlon Homes while the property branch of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and the investment group Delancey will own the remaining properties.

"Private developers will be fighting each other for a piece of the action," said Lady Doocey. "But if we're not careful and if there isn't public money put into it, the private companies will be calling the tune on affordable housing."

Daniel Moylan, chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, responsible for planning for after the Games, pledged that the new neighbourhoods would "stitch together the surrounding communities of a formerly isolated area through new homes, schools, shops, parks, infrastructure and jobs."

Park homes are not 'affordable'

Anchor House, in Newham, provides support and shelter to those caught in the borough's housing crisis. Lorna Smith, 36, a part-time healthcare assistant, has been on the waiting list for social housing since 2005.

I don't see how I will benefit from the Olympics, in any way. You would need a well-paid job to afford the rent on one of the social housing places in the new development, and I will find it hard to work again.

Hassan Adani, 48, worked as a street cleaner for 20 years, before a spinal condition left him unable to work.

What I'd like to say to the council and to the Olympic planners is: spend a day in our shoes. Spend a night sleeping in a homeless hostel with doors banging throughout the night and your priorities will change. To say the houses available in the Olympic Park will be "affordable" sounds ridiculous. Add up costs of food, bills, transport, TV licence and what's left for rent? Not much.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Digital Project Manager/BA

£300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Digital/Ecommerc...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home