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Bonkers Blog January 2015

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16 January (Part 2) - How did it go so wrong?

Following a tip off I found BBC Radio London on 94·9 FM yesterday afternoon. They seemed to be having some sort of Bexley Phone In Day as there was a whole host of knowalls who had never been near the court room who knew more about Bexleyheath’s naughty teacher case than the judge with all her experience who had carefully listened to the evidence. I vowed not to tune in to such tripe again.

Bryce-Smith However the real reason for listening turned up at twenty five past five in the shape of David Bryce-Smith (Bexley’s Deputy Director of Public Protection and Housing) who didn’t sound too happy while defending Bexley council’s housing record which includes sending some families to Manchester because local landlords are charging too much rent.

I thought he acquitted himself quite well, he faces a near impossible task.

At 18:40 (another tip off) Mr. Bryce-Smith was on BBC1 News doing the same thing.

He’s probably doing all he can under present circumstances. And that is just it. How did we come to be in such a state that working families can’t afford to live in what Bexley council and others say is the cheapest place for accommodation in the whole of London? Have public authorities no foresight or initiative any more?

Nissen Hut PrefabI once found myself homeless. I was only one year old at the time but Mr. Hitler dropped a big firework on the house where I was born.

We weren’t sent to Manchester, in fact we didn’t move out of town. The local council saw there was an emergency and rapidly built some tin huts. They had a toilet but no bath, unless you count the zinc plated tub.

Recognising that that was a bit primitive even for the 1940s the tin hut was soon replaced by an asbestos box, more commonly known as a Prefab. That was a definite step up, it even had a built-in fridge which almost no one had in 1947.

Since then we have all got far too posh and expect far too much. You can imagine the outcry if Bexley council decided its housing crisis had to be solved and covered the Tesco site in Broadway with tin huts.

Instead we get ‘affordable homes’ (three bedroom terraced) that cost £600,000 to buy outright and which will be a millstone around the neck for life of anyone who might want to buy and has saved the huge deposit. I really can’t understand how 343 houses which received a £23 million subsidy from Boris Johnson (£67,000 each) can still have cost more than half a million pounds each. Someone somewhere has engineered a massive rip off under the noses of a negligent Bexley council.

Everyone who has ever insured a house will (or should) know that the building cost is nothing like as much as an estate agent’s valuation and no builder would charge that much without a visit from a Trading Standards inspector - if we still had any.

But while the sort of economics that leads to Erith Park prices prevails, along with unrealistic expectations by those who do not enjoy the highest of incomes, David Bryce-Smith has one hell of a housing problem on his plate.

Bugger! I am beginning to sound like a socialist.


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