First time buyers want to see empty field used for affordable housing

First published in Redbridge
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People struggling to get on the housing ladder have added their voices to the growing debate about what to do with a much-loved open space.

The future of Evergreen Field, just off Wanstead High Street, has been thrust into the spotlight since developer Dalbir Singh Sanger announced plans to nine homes and two shops on the site.

The proposal was met with fury from conservation groups, and prompted a pledge from Redbridge Council to use all their powers to keep the field free from housing.

Advertising executive Matt Keen, 39, rents a flat with his wife in New Wanstead, and the couple have been hoping to buy a home for the past five years.

He said: “My wife and I both have good jobs, but we have found getting on the property ladder difficult.

“We had a look at houses on the Chepstow development and starting prices were around £265,000 for a one or two bed home - it's just out of budget.

"At some point, someone will build on the Evergreen site, and it’s a case of what ends up being built there, so let’s put our heads together and build something for the benefit of the community.

“I mean what is the council protecting? It’s a rat-infested field at the end of the day.”

Teacher Conor Walsh, 32, lives in a one-bedroom house in New Wanstead, and has been saving for a deposit on a home of his own for the past eight years.

He said: “The land is just sitting there doing nothing and it’s been like that for years.

“I love Wanstead and want to stay here, but the price some estate agents want for houses is diabolical.

"As soon as they know you are not a cash buyer, they become so arrogant.

"I need to live, I need to survive. I can't have 60 to 70 per cent of my salary spent on a mortgage."

Mr Sanger has said he intends to apply for permission to develop the site, but has not yet confirmed when he will do that.

Comments (7)

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10:44pm Thu 24 Jan 13

ColinOrient says...

If this space is so much-loved, why has nobody attempted to take care of it for donkeys' years?
If this space is so much-loved, why has nobody attempted to take care of it for donkeys' years? ColinOrient
  • Score: 0

7:52am Fri 25 Jan 13

Helen, Walthamstow says...

I don't live in Wanstead, I don't know the field and I can't comment about the main issue.

The two people have made their case as they are entitled to do. But how do they know the new houses will be in their price range? They haven't even got planning permission, let alone been built.

Did they come to the newspaper separately and independently, of their own accord, or were they "offered" as examples?

They make similar remarks about the value - or perceived lack of it - of the feld.

I,m just curious, because it sounds a bit orchestrated and is definitely unusual.
I don't live in Wanstead, I don't know the field and I can't comment about the main issue. The two people have made their case as they are entitled to do. But how do they know the new houses will be in their price range? They haven't even got planning permission, let alone been built. Did they come to the newspaper separately and independently, of their own accord, or were they "offered" as examples? They make similar remarks about the value - or perceived lack of it - of the feld. I,m just curious, because it sounds a bit orchestrated and is definitely unusual. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

8:18am Fri 25 Jan 13

Cornbeefur says...

Agree with H, seems very contrived when a) No permission can be given to build anything on it. b) the drawings that were submitted and shown here a few weeks ago detailed houses which in that area would have a price tag of circa 750k.
Agree with H, seems very contrived when a) No permission can be given to build anything on it. b) the drawings that were submitted and shown here a few weeks ago detailed houses which in that area would have a price tag of circa 750k. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 25 Jan 13

LakeBreeze says...

ColinOrient wrote:
If this space is so much-loved, why has nobody attempted to take care of it for donkeys' years?
The problem is, the land has always been owned by one entity or another who do not take care of it nor use it, and they have not been the ones who loved it at all.

It's locals who care about it as an undeveloped space -- which is not to say they too are not dismayed that it's just an abandoned field -- but they can't DO anything about that, not owing it.

I'd like to ask the people in the article who are hoping to get on the property ladder -- what makes you think this is that opportunity? There is no guarantee that if -- and that's a big if -- any residences were to built on this space that they would be any more affordable than other Wanstead properties. Face it, it's a prime spot and no house or flat built there is going to be priced at anything less than the other values of similar properties in Wanstead.

Be realistic. This development is not the answer to anyone's prayers...
[quote][p][bold]ColinOrient[/bold] wrote: If this space is so much-loved, why has nobody attempted to take care of it for donkeys' years?[/p][/quote]The problem is, the land has always been owned by one entity or another who do not take care of it nor use it, and they have not been the ones who loved it at all. It's locals who care about it as an undeveloped space -- which is not to say they too are not dismayed that it's just an abandoned field -- but they can't DO anything about that, not owing it. I'd like to ask the people in the article who are hoping to get on the property ladder -- what makes you think this is that opportunity? There is no guarantee that if -- and that's a big if -- any residences were to built on this space that they would be any more affordable than other Wanstead properties. Face it, it's a prime spot and no house or flat built there is going to be priced at anything less than the other values of similar properties in Wanstead. Be realistic. This development is not the answer to anyone's prayers... LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Fri 25 Jan 13

LakeBreeze says...

Typo correction -- the end of my second paragraph was meant to read "not owning it" rather than "not owing it."
Typo correction -- the end of my second paragraph was meant to read "not owning it" rather than "not owing it." LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Fri 25 Jan 13

T. Watts says...

Congratulations to the Guardian for once again lazily printing developer propaganda and passing it off as news.

The fact of the matter is that across the UK there is currently planning permission for 400,000 unbuilt houses. However, builders and developers don't want to build them now, because they won't make a whacking profit, like they used to before the recession. As a result, they only want to build on 'prime' locations - such as Wanstead High Street - where they can make a big return (Affordable housing on the High Street??? Yeah, right). When they're blocked they bemoan the fact that they can't build.
Congratulations to the Guardian for once again lazily printing developer propaganda and passing it off as news. The fact of the matter is that across the UK there is currently planning permission for 400,000 unbuilt houses. However, builders and developers don't want to build them now, because they won't make a whacking profit, like they used to before the recession. As a result, they only want to build on 'prime' locations - such as Wanstead High Street - where they can make a big return (Affordable housing on the High Street??? Yeah, right). When they're blocked they bemoan the fact that they can't build. T. Watts
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 25 Jan 13

LakeBreeze says...

I agree, T.Watts, it does seem like propaganda leaning toward the developers.

The ridiculous foundation of this entire issue is that the land is not even allowed to be developed; it's protected land under the Open Space policies. It shouldn't even really be owned by a private concern at all, least of all an entity looking to build on it -- something permission is not and never will be given for.

The best use for this plot is to open it up and incorporate it into Christchurch Green, and use it as an extension of the green for public recreation, and area for festivals to take place, and this also preserves the view of the church steeple from the high street.
I agree, T.Watts, it does seem like propaganda leaning toward the developers. The ridiculous foundation of this entire issue is that the land is not even allowed to be developed; it's protected land under the Open Space policies. It shouldn't even really be owned by a private concern at all, least of all an entity looking to build on it -- something permission is not and never will be given for. The best use for this plot is to open it up and incorporate it into Christchurch Green, and use it as an extension of the green for public recreation, and area for festivals to take place, and this also preserves the view of the church steeple from the high street. LakeBreeze
  • Score: 0

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