We recently contributed to Feargus O’Sullivan’s piece in The Atlantic Cities, about the return of slum living to London. David Cameron’s Middle-England-vote-catching proposal to relax planning laws (UPDATE: currently under parliamentary review) may only exacerbate the issue. Here’s an excerpt:
All over London, so-called sheds with beds have been cropping up like toadstools, presented to planning authorities as family home extensions but then surreptitiously rented out to strangers. Many of these are poky warrens let out to the desperate, part of the growing number of Londoners who have lost hope of gaining social housing and are forced to make do with whatever they can get. The government has vowed to tear down these new shanties, with UK housing minister Grant Shapps and some press cameras even joining in a raid on one. It is unlikely that they would be such a problem, however, if the government hadn’t cut funding for social housing by 50 percent, pushing poor renters into the private sector.