Residents priced out the area they grew up in

A view of Wembley stadium in London, with the arch illuminated at dusk. Picture date: Monday April 5

Raheem Sterling used to be able to see the Wembley Stadium arch when growing up on the St Raphael’s estate - Credit: PA Images

Raheem Sterling sent an inspirational message to Brent children participating in a football project I’m organising.

In his message, he also mentioned being able to see the Wembley Stadium arch when growing up on the St Raphael’s estate.

Today, the famous Wembley arch is surrounded by tall-buildings containing thousands of flats – but who are all these flats for? It’s great we are building in Brent, but how many people in Brent can afford to live in Brent?

A new one-bedroom flat in Wembley Park costs £405,000. Even under a shared-ownership scheme, you need a £20,000 deposit and must pay £1,100 every month - that doesn’t leave you much, especially if you earn the average weekly take-home pay in Brent of £460.

Zaffar Van Kalwala, former Stonebridge Labour councillor

Zaffar Van Kalwala is worried about the future of Brent post-Covid - Credit: Zaffar Van Kalwala

Local residents are getting priced out the area they grew up in. The borough should have its own Community Land Trust (CLT) so residents can develop and manage local homes. CLT properties are priced according to local earnings so they are genuinely affordable.

Funding for new homes can be made available by diverting housing benefit from landlords to building new homes in Brent. Currently, £8.5billion is spent by the government every year renting private properties for housing. This could be used to construct homes in the borough, which Brent residents can afford to buy as well as help those who are homeless or living in overcrowded temporary accommodation.

If we want a community in Brent, it wont be built by developers but residents who have a place to call home.