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Enfield pledges to stop housing residents outside of borough

The London Borough of Enfield has promised to stop housing residents in temporary accommodation outside its boundaries.

Local authority leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan said it would end the practice and bring residents temporarily homed by the council in Harlow back into Enfield.

The London borough said tenants placed in Redstone House in Harlow town centre will be moved into more suitable accommodation in the next six months.

A review of Enfield’s use of other accommodation in Harlow will follow in due course.

Several councils in London have rehoused residents in former office blocks outside the capital, which have been turned into flats under permitted development laws.

In April, the Conservative MP Robert Halfon claimed in Parliament that permitted development laws had allowed ‘landlords to build ghettos and London councillors to socially cleanse their most vulnerable families to places such as Harlow’.

Cllr Caliskan said the council was committed to supporting people who want to stay in Enfield.

‘This in turn will help create and support more stable and cohesive communities,’ he added.

‘It is not news to anyone that we are in a housing crisis. While the cost of living continues to rise we are hampered by extensive cuts to our funding and reductions to local housing allowance rates.

‘However, we are determined to use all the tools at our disposal to tackle the issue of temporary accommodation head on and eradicate homelessness from Enfield altogether, while supporting those in housing need.’

The London borough has also urged other local authorities to follow suit.

‘It is a little-known fact that nearly 60 per cent of our temporary housing is utilised by other boroughs,’ said cabinet member for social housing, Cllr Gina Needs.

‘On top of this, there are simply too many households in temporary accommodation in Enfield. We need to take a transformational approach to prevent homelessness, develop relationships between residents and landlords to make tenancies successful, and make sure temporary accommodation really is temporary.’

The leader of Harlow Council, Cllr Mark Ingall said the announcement by Enfield is a ‘major development for Harlow’ and its campaign to highlight the impact of the government’s permitted development rights.

‘Last year Enfield Council were responsible for around 50 per cent of the “out of borough” placements made in Harlow so this is significant and a welcome move by Enfield Council,’ said Cllr Ingall.

‘Enfield are a positive example of the stance councils should take. Those in housing need, and in often vulnerable situations, need to be supported in the area they live and not forced miles away and placed in Harlow or anywhere else in the country. While I have some sympathy for the situation London councils and other councils are in, they all have a responsibility to support their communities and to not use Harlow to ease their own housing shortages.’

 

Photo Credit – Hans (Pixabay)

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