Temporary Accommodation on Hainault Estate Play Areas

MQT on 2019-03-21
Session date: 
March 21, 2019
Question By: 
Keith Prince
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


In view of the importance of children’s play space in the London Plan, are you aware of Redbridge Council’s plans to build temporary accommodation using converted containers on two of the Hainault Estate’s children’s play areas, and the impact this could have on the protection of play space in London?


Temporary Accommodation on Hainault Estate Play Areas

Temporary Accommodation on Hainault Estate Play Areas

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I am aware of plans by Redbridge Council to provide temporary accommodation for homeless households on two sites in their borough which Assembly Member Prince asked a written question about last month.  I expect all boroughs to take account of the policies in the Draft London Plan but I would have no say over these schemes as they would not be referred to me. 


I understand from the Council that the site at Woodman Road has been occupied by a disused health centre that has now been demolished.  The other site at Brocket Way contains a multi‑use games area and was designated for housing when Assembly Member Prince was a councillor and cabinet member at Redbridge Council.  This is not a new designation by the Council.  I understand though that the local Labour councillors have worked effectively with the Council leadership to agree an alternative location for the temporary accommodation.  This means that Brocket Way will now be withdrawn from the Council’s plans without damaging the Council’s important efforts to help homeless households.  Even Assembly Member Prince would, I am sure, accept the huge and urgent pressure that Redbridge and other councils face finding homes for homeless households. 


The Government’s damaging approach to welfare and housing means that more and more Londoners are spending long periods of time in limbo in temporary accommodation, often away from their local area.  Most such households are parents with children, which makes the situation even more distressing.  We are giving councils all the support we can.  For example, City Hall is funding the Pan‑London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise, which enables meanwhile sites to be used as accommodation for homeless families.  We also fund the work behind Capital Letters, a scheme through which councillors can collaborate to secure private rented housing for homeless households. 


However, fundamentally, Government Ministers must reverse the policies that have forced so many Londoners into homelessness.  First, the Government must properly fund councils’ work to prevent homelessness and must reverse their damaging welfare cuts.  Second, they must radically overhaul the private rented sector to make it more secure and affordable.  Finally, the Government must invest far more in council and social rented housing as that is the only long‑term solution to the crisis of homelessness and housing more widely that we face in London.


Keith Prince AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  That is very helpful indeed.  Just to confirm, you will do all you can to defend children’s play areas in London?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Those that are in my power, of course.


Keith Prince AM:  Yes?  Lovely.  OK, thank you very much.