Property’s big guns to get loaded in London

The annual London Real Estate Forum kicks off on June 12 with champagne, canapés and even a genteel game of cricket. Since 2013 the LREF has helped developers and their development ‘partners’ – London’s locally elected council leaders – to mushroom gentrification across London. Gentrification has driven up property prices and rents to unaffordable levels and has led to a net loss of council homes through estate demolition. This intensifies London’s chronic shortage of genuinely affordable homes and causes the ‘social cleansing’ of Londoners on average and lower incomes from traditionally working class neighbourhoods. The LREF boasts it offers ‘property decision makers’ a chance for ‘relaxed conversation’. However, council estate resident campaigners, trying to save their homes from demolition, decry LREF as an event where locally elected politicians willingly subvert local democracy  – and publicly owned land and assets – to the interests of corporate developer tyrannies. As for the cricket, players pay £300 each to play in a charity match for young homeless people. Paul Coleman reports.

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The ‘council house boy’ and his very British ballots

After his election in 2016, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – the ‘council house boy’ – faces growing demands from council estate residents – threatened by ‘regeneration’ schemes – to be granted a real voice and a decisive vote on whether their homes are demolished or not. 

Finally, two years later, Mayor Khan introduces ballots but it’s a concession laden with conditions. Resident campaigners suspect Khan has ensured ‘regeneration’ deceits lurk in the details of these very British ballots.

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Another Grenfell could happen…soon

Thousands of tower block residents across Britain remain at risk exactly one year after the catastrophic Grenfell fire in west London. A fire chemistry expert warns of dire consequences if the government continues to fail to tackle combustible materials on tower blocks. “If these issues are not addressed, we are going to see another Grenfell,” says Professor Anna Stec. “And we are going to see it soon.”

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Centre Point: monument to a housing crisis

Some Londoners love Centre Point, writes Paul Coleman. Others loathe it. That makes Centre Point another of London’s ‘Marmite’ skyscrapers.* Completed in 1966, (the last time an England team won the football World Cup), this 34-storey edifice stands as a looming monument to 20th century greed for office space. But will Centre Point become a monument to a 21st century global gluttony for speculative investment in London’s uber high-priced real estate market?

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