It is only two years since Bexley’s
planning committee approved the demolition of Erith’s notorious Larner Read
tower blocks and replacement with houses and flats no more than three storeys
high. Former councillor Munir Malik (Labour) was concerned about the provision of
‘affordable homes’ and failed to get a straight answer. Last week we got one.
Mayor Boris Johnson proudly dropped in on what we now have to call Erith Park and said “if you think about it the value is incredible. We are half an hour from London Bridge”.
Having given the subject some thought as Boris requested - and ignoring the fact that you would be hard pressed to get to London Bridge from Erith Park in fewer than 45 minutes - I find myself unimpressed. Worse than that I think that Boris Johnson has proved himself just as far out of touch with ordinary people as his Etonian friend Cameron is.
When I moved to Bexley 28 years ago I bought a new detached house for £69,000. I paid a thousand over the odds because it was on the largest plot of land on the development.
£69,000 was less than two years salary. If I was doing the same job today it might perhaps attract an £80,000 salary though not in my case. The reason I opted for redundancy in the 1990s was because my employer wanted to move me to Yorkshire and significantly reduce my pay - but that’s another story.
But assuming I was on that high salary what would it buy for less than twice my annual income at Erith Park? Err… nothing.
OK, what if I stretched myself to three times an £80,000 income? The sales office might be interested. What could they offer?
A 40% share in a three bedroomed terraced house. And that's supposed to be affordable?
Whereas I was able to buy 100% of a three bedroom detached house for noticeably under twice my salary, 28 years later, if my income had doubled, I would get 40% of a terraced house for three times my salary and have to pay rent on the other 60%!
I know that Boris Johnson is renowned for his sense of humour, but that is simply not funny is it?