Brent Council backs ‘poor doors’ housing developments in the borough

Queen's Park Place will have segregated entrances

Queen's Park Place will have segregated entrances - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has come under fire for backing plans that allows separate entrances to segregate affordable housing tenants from private owners in mixed developments.

With a growing need for affordable housing in the capital, many developers have actively sought to include them in their proposals in order to win planning permission for their multi-million pound projects.

In some developments, town hall bosses have given the green light to applications which forces those living in these properties to enter their homes through another access, dubbed ‘poor doors’.

Ann John OBE, former Labour councillor for Stonebridge and ex-leader of the council, hit out at the practice. She said: “I thoroughly disapprove. Having two separate entrances for affordable and private tenants who live in the same block is utterly ridiculous and dreadful.”

Sujata Aurora, of Brent Housing Action, said: “What is more shocking is that these arrangements appear to be commonplace and that Brent Council is not only aware of them but has also approved them.”

Londonnewcastle, responsible for the brand new Queen’s Park Place developments in Albert Road, Queen’s Park, recently came into disrepute following revelations that the luxurious main entrance which features a 24/7 manned concierge desk has been reserved solely for private tenants. Affordable tenants have also been kept away from private courtyard gardens and basement car and cycle parking.

Services, including postal delivery and refuse storage, are also divided.

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Pete Firmin, a committee member of the neighbouring Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “It is outrageous and basically saying we are the privileged, keep out of our area.

“It is backward and makes us feel like dirt. Brent Council should not be allowing this to happen.”

A spokesman for Londonewcastle said: “We work with planning departments and affordable housing providers, engaging at an early stage of the design process in order to create developments that will meet the needs of both the providers and residents.

“Whilst these needs vary from project to project, practical consideration is given to long term residential management requirements, including costs of running and maintaining a building. Affordable homes are managed separately by affordable homes providers who have control over the facilities provided to tenants.”

Quintain, the company behind the Wembley Park developments, has a single entrance and facilities shared by all residents in their current properties, but have admitted they will be segregated in their next building phase.

They claim this will be done at the request of the registered provider, which will ultimately own and manage the affordable housing.

Hyde Housing, who are behind the transformation of the Stonebridge Estate, refused to comment.

But Brent councillor Margaret McLennan, lead member for housing and regeneration, defended separate accesses, claiming they were necessary to keep down service charges by affordable homes providers.

She said: “We have a planning policy that affordable housing should not be distinguishable in terms of design or style from private housing.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, declined to comment, But Sir Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning for London, said: “The Mayor is committed to creating mixed communities for Londoners on a range of incomes.

“While he discourages dual access doors in planning applications, in some cases, this is not possible without incurring unaffordable service charges for people on a tight budget.”

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