Pro-runway candidate in Harrow has mixed message on housing
Labour's Gareth Thomas, up for re-election as MP for Harrow, claims to be angry that 90% of homes on a new development have gone to foreign investors. He told the press that he "will continue to fight for the homes we need" yet his support of foreign investors who own Heathrow will reduce the housing stock in nearby Hillingdon and put pressure on social housing in Harrow.
Mr Thomas supports a third runway at Heathrow even though this would involve the destruction of almost 1,000 homes in the first phase and around 4,000 in total. With as many as 10,000 people being displaced, there will be pressure on councils (particularly pro-runway councils like Harrow, Slough and Spelthorne) to find accommodation for those who would lose their homes.
The Harrow Square development that has prompted Gareth Thomas to speak up this week has sold 18 properties, with only ONE going to a resident of Harrow. Another new Harrow development, Austin House, will have properties available in 2019 but they will be offered first in Hong Kong. Mr Thomas seems to object to Chinese investors taking homes that could go to Harrow homebuyers but is in favour of Chinese investors (who own a chunk of Heathrow) demolishing homes that are already occupied by Hillingdon residents.
A large number of those displaced in the Heathrow villages are tenants (council, housing association and private landlord) who will not have sufficient funds or any compensation to enable them to consider buying.
We look forward to seeing what the Leader of Harrow Council, Sachin Shah (also Labour and pro-runway) proposes to do for residents who need affordable homes. At the moment he seems preoccupied with posing in a hard hat and hi-viz displaying the developers "Barratt" logo.
Barrett must be thrilled that the council leader is giving them so much free publicity for the flats, which sell at £340,00 for a studio and £644,000 for a two-bed flat. (Not affordable or appropriate for any homeowners being forced out of a 3-bed house with garage and garden in the Heathrow Villages.)
Mr Shah talks about jobs but fails to understand that workers need affordable homes. He also talks about other benefits like a climbing wall - great if you are being driven up the wall by the fruitless search for somewhere decent to live on your pay. Locals will also get a library; handy if you want a book but no substitute if you need a bed.