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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
Life and Style

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

Year 4 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Teacher required...

Year 1 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required...

Year 5/6Teacher needed - Roath, Cardiff

£100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?