Tower Hamlets Labour Party

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Mayor proposes plan to save Poplar Harca social homes from auction

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday wrote to Poplar Harca’s Chief Executive setting out proposals to save around 50 one and two bedroom social homes after it emerged they had been put up for auction by the Housing Association.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday wrote to Poplar Harca’s Chief Executive setting out proposals to save around 50 one and two bedroom social homes after it emerged they had been put up for auction by the Housing Association.

The letter sets out two proposals to allow the homes, which are currently vacant, to stay in public sector hands and to be bought back into use for social housing. There are fears that an auction on the open market would attract private investors looking to rent the flats at unaffordable rent.

Writing in the letter Mayor Biggs said:

“I am writing to strongly urge you to withdraw all the homes currently up for auction and engage in discussions to sell these 50 homes to the council.

“I am particularly annoyed that the first news we had of these homes being put up for auction was reading the auction notices, and that there was no courtesy of a written correspondence with the council.”

The options proposed by the Mayor would either see the council using the properties as much needed temporary accommodation for homeless families; or alternatively buying the properties outright to allow them to remain in public ownership.

Commenting on the letter Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

“I’m deeply disappointed by Poplar Harca’s decision to sell these homes and the fact they didn’t even bother to tell the council about their plans in advance.

“I have written to their Chief Executive urging them to call off the auction and discuss other options with us, including the possibility of the council stepping in to buy the properties.

“With thousands of families on our housing waiting list Tower Hamlets needs more affordable homes, not less. These properties were built to be council homes, and with such high need in our borough, its only right they stay that way.”

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