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From: The Socialist issue 1119, 3 February 2021: Launching a political alternative to cuts, poverty and job losses

Search site for keywords: Waltham Forest - Public services - Housing - Council - Socialist Party - Socialist - Walthamstow

Save our square: we need social housing and public services

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Waltham Forest Labour council in East London approved plans to build a block of unaffordable, private housing on Walthamstow town square. The Socialist Party has been campaigning against the proposals as part of the campaign group 'Save our Square'. At the council's planning meeting on 27 January, four Socialist Party members spoke to oppose the plans. We print what Socialist Party member Rachel Lyon had to say to the councillors.

"I'm a local resident and key worker in a primary school and I am opposed to any housing that isn't affordable or social housing that is needed to alleviate the 9,000 people currently waiting on the housing list in our area.

I feel it's a mockery, an eyesore, and a disregard for what Walthamstow is: a community.

We don't just need a reminder of what we can't afford. These plans would be a removal of what we need; communal spaces and affordable housing.

I privately rent a bedroom and can't afford 1,500 - 2,000 a month for a flat, and neither can my peers. You have only allocated 20% to affordable housing, but even that's a joke! 80% of the market rent, I still can't afford that! Do you think that's enough?

Our lives will be disrupted and over crowded, especially at the local station. These flats will tower over all surrounding buildings and dominate the local area. 1,000 more people in the square. You want to optimise the view for these new private residents, who will most likely be from out of the area, at the cost of our square.

One more piece of land in London that makes money for private organisations but doesn't improve lives. I see losses not gains. I thought our council would invest in our square as a place for our young people to come together in a sports hub, a proper children's playground, an outside cinema, but instead we get a loss of our market square, and overcrowding caused by flats we can't afford, and a loss of opportunities. When, as a council, are you going to listen to what we need?"

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