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Manor Park clergyman joins calls for more affordable homes to fulfil London 2012 legacy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 September 2019

Father Angus Ritchie and Fr Sean Connolly who has criticised a lack of affordable homes around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Picture: Jean Jameson / Citizens UK

Father Angus Ritchie and Fr Sean Connolly who has criticised a lack of affordable homes around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Picture: Jean Jameson / Citizens UK

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A clergyman has said it is "devastating" to see families priced out of their neighbourhoods while new homes are being built all around them.

Rev Fr Sean Connolly of St Stephen's in Manor Park, spoke out as campaigners called on the organisation responsible for planning at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) - to fulfil a promise everyone would benefit from London 2012.

Rev Fr Connolly said: "It is devastating to see so many of my parishioners living in overcrowded conditions or being forced out of Newham while new houses are built all around them.

"While I welcome new housing being built on the Olympic Park, it needs to be affordable and this is a real problem."

The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO) wants LLDC to introduce a requirement that 50 per cent of all housing is genuinely affordable linking it to average household incomes which it estimates at £27,000 across the boroughs surrounding the park.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park today. Picture: LLDCQueen Elizabeth Olympic Park today. Picture: LLDC

It wants LLDC to commit to more community land trust (CLT) housing, which is affordable in perpetuity and calculated using local incomes.

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In a study, Dr Penny Bernstock, who co-chairs the TELCO Olympic strategy team, found that between October 2012 and July 2017 19.6pc of the housing approved by the LLDC was affordable, falling short of the 35pc pledged.

The latest government figures show 5,048 Newham households were in temporary accommodation between January and March this year.

Dr Bernstock, of the University of West London, said: "Let's get the legacy back on track and ensure families are not priced out of the Olympic Park."

An LLDC spokeswoman said: "We are doing much to build affordable homes. Sadiq Khan set out that 50pc of homes on our remaining three sites will be affordable and has provided an additional £300million to help get them built.

"The transformation of the park is an exemplar project creating jobs, growth and opportunity across east London.

"East Village, the former athlete's village, delivered 49pc affordable housing and is just one example of how housing is at the heart of the 2012 legacy."

She added schemes on and around the park have delivered thousands of affordable homes.

"However, we don't exist in isolation which is why it's important more are delivered across London," she said.

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