Rumours over empty Stratford estate homes quashed in meeting

The Carpenters Estate in Stratford.

The Carpenters Estate in Stratford. - Credit: Steve Poston

The town hall has quashed rumours that homes at an estate are lying empty despite Newham having 27,000 people on its housing waiting list.

The council's director of housing, Darren Levy, sought to address incorrect talk on social media surrounding the Carpenters Estate in Stratford.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. Picture: R. Fiaz

Rokhsana Fiaz is encouraging residents to vote on May 6 - Credit: Newham Council

Asked by mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, to rebut the claims, Mr Levy said all low-rise properties are being used for temporary accommodation.

He added the only empty homes are in tower blocks which are being redeveloped. 

Mr Levy was speaking at a council meeting on Tuesday, May 11, where councillors heard in excess of £700 million would go into regenerating the estate over "many years", with £170m during the first phase.

In September, housing campaigners took to the streets to demand a repopulation of the estate.

Overall, Newham is pumping about £1billion into the borough's housing with building safety identified as a priority.

In the meeting, cabinet chiefs approved the local authority's plans to address the housing crisis in Newham over the next four years.

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A council report describes Newham as being "on the frontline of the housing crisis" with its high housing costs, deprivation, low wages, rapid population growth and rising prices.

More than 7,000 children live in temporary accommodation in the borough.

The plans aims to see more homes built; engage with residents more; address the climate emergency; have "rigorous" enforcement of landlord licensing; set up a renters' rights service; create better council housing stock and tackle homelessness.

A total of £150 million is to be invested in improvements to the borough's existing stock of council housing.

Dave Hughes, corporate director of inclusive economy and housing, explained the borough's need for larger homes would in part be addressed by more loft conversions.

Newham's planning policy would also maximise the number of three bedroom homes with the council's developer, Populo Living, also tasked with prioritising family housing.

Cabinet members also agreed in principle to buy the freehold of a block of 19 flats in Barking Road for an undisclosed sum. If the purchase is successful, the building would be used for temporary accommodation.